The food pantry at the MLK Center.

The Rhode Island Foundation today announced that it will match every donation the public makes to Trinity Repertory Company during its 2021 run of “A Christmas Carol” with an equal grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, up to a total of $60,000. 

RI Foundation says that the goal is to enable the Food Bank to keep its warehouse stocked for member agencies like the Community Baptist Church Meal Site on Dr. Marcus Wheatland Boulevard, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center food pantry and meal site on Dr. Marcus Wheatland Boulevard and the St. Mary Church Soup Kitchen on Williams Street in Newport. 

The funding will replace the donations for the Food Bank that the theater traditionally has collected from audiences prior to the pandemic. Until Trinity Rep went dark last year, the actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge had stepped forward at the end of every performance of “A Christmas Carol” and asked theater-goers to leave a donation for the Food Bank. Audiences would then drop their contributions in collection buckets on their way out of the theater. In 2019 alone, the tradition raised more than $60,000. This commitment from the Foundation benefits two nonprofits that have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. The Food Bank has seen unprecedented demand for its services. Unable to produce for in-person audiences for 20 months, Trinity Rep is just now resuming live performances. 

In the interest of public health and safety, the theater will not have collection buckets at this season’s performances. Instead, the public can trigger the matching grants by contributing to Trinity Rep online at www.trinityrep.com/match or by texting SCROOGE to 44-321. Through this matching challenge, their donations will benefit Trinity Rep’s artistic, education, and community programs, as well as the food pantries and meal sites that Food Bank supplies. 

“COVID-19’s impact is still being felt across the state. The need remains high at food pantries and meal sites as people cope with the economic effect of the pandemic. Arts organizations that rely on ticket sales are still struggling to recover from the loss of live performances last year. Our matching grants will enable people to double the impact of their donation to Trinity Rep,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. 

“We are thrilled that Trinity Rep is able to return to live performances of “A Christmas Carol” this year, and deeply grateful that the Rhode Island Foundation will match gifts to Trinity with donations to the Food Bank, amplifying the positive message of the show and supporting two essential nonprofit organizations in our state,” said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff. 

“’A Christmas Carol’ is a story about discovering generosity and hope as personal salvation, and our partnership with the Food Bank is also about those values. For the last fifteen years, our audiences have opened their hearts to their neighbors. I’m beyond thrilled that this important tradition can continue this year,” said Trinity Rep Artistic Director Curt Columbus.

Other participating Newport member agencies include the East Bay Community Action Newport Pantry on Broadway,  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center food pantry and meal site on Dr. Marcus Wheatland Boulevard, Salvation Army Newport Corps’ food pantry and meal site on Memorial Boulevard and the SVDP St. Joseph Church Food Pantry on Mann Avenue.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...