With the late summer traditionally a time of high need among Rhode Islanders struggling with hunger and now made worse by the rising costs of groceries, Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) today announced that it has sent a total of $25,000 in funding to food programs across the state.
The bank has provided $10,000 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, as well as $15,000 in grants to a group of community-based food pantries, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. The financial support comes in addition to BankRI having recently hosted a six-week food collection drive in all 20 of its branches.
“Fighting hunger is an important cause for all of us at BankRI, and we know this year has been extremely difficult for families who were already stretched thin at the market,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, BankRI’s President and CEO. “We wanted to provide more support this summer – at both the state level and in our communities – and thank everyone who joined in to help our neighbors put food on their tables.”
As the Food Bank is serving more than 59,000 people each month through its network of emergency food programs and the latest hunger statistics show 1 in 6 Rhode Island households to be food insecure, BankRI’s donation will help the organization acquire and distribute enough healthy, culturally relevant food to keep up with the high level of need in the community. The Food Bank hopes to distribute 15 million pounds of food this year, which is 30 percent more than before the pandemic.
“Bank Rhode Island has been a tremendous partner to the Food Bank for many years and has generously increased its support as we’ve responded to the economic fallout of the pandemic,” said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff. “As we too face the high costs of food and fuel due to inflation, the grants given to the Food Bank and some of our partner agencies will help ensure we have the resources to purchase and distribute the essential foods needed in our community. We’re so grateful to the Bank and its customers for supporting our work.”
At the community level, both with its in-branch food collections and grants, each BankRI location in the state partnered with a local food pantry to ensure they’re helping area residents. In Middletown, the Bank’s local branch collected food to benefit the MLK Community Center.