The food pantry at the MLK Center.

The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that it will match every donation the public makes to Trinity Repertory Company during its 2022 run of “A Christmas Carol”with an equal grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, up to a total of $60,000. 

Winning the challenge grant will help the Food Bank keep its warehouse stocked for member agencies like the East Bay Community Action Program Tiverton Pantry, the Little Compton Food Bank and the Martin Luther King Center Pantry, the Salvation Army Newport Corps’ Pantry, and the Community Baptist Church Meal Site in Newport, according to The Rhode Island Foundation. 

The grant will replace the donations for the Food Bank that the theater has traditionally collected from audiences. Until Trinity Rep went dark in 2020 due to COVID-19, 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.

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 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 Bank.

“The need remains high at food pantries and meal sites as people cope with the rising cost of everyday expenses and the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic. Arts organizations that rely on ticket sales are still struggling to recover from fall off at live performances. Our matching grant will enable people to feed hungry Rhode Islanders while still supporting the arts,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The matching grant challenge benefits two nonprofits that have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. In the last six months, the Food Bank has seen an unprecedented 20% surge in people seeking assistance at food pantries across the state.

“We are so grateful that the Rhode Island Foundation will once again match gifts to Trinity Rep with donations to the Food Bank during this year’s run of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff. “This partnership brings to life the values of love, kindness and generosity that are embodied in the show for the benefit of two essential nonprofits in our community.”

Trinity Rep Artistic Director Curt Columbus said, “Trinity Rep has been fortunate to partner with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank since 2006, raising funds for our neighbors during the holiday season. This great collaboration has given our production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ a special kind of joy throughout the years, knowing that the story of Scrooge’s journey to generosity is reflected in the grace and kindness of our audiences. Now, for the last few seasons, we have been joined by the Rhode Island Foundation to support this important work in uncertain times. We are all extremely honored that this good work continues.”

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...