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.

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 Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.