From the first week in August through the third week of September, coinciding with a time when many families struggling to make ends meet can use a helping hand while preparing for back to school, Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) organized a food drive at each of its 18 branches across the state.
In response, Bank customers and staff gave generously, helping to generate more than 33,000 pounds for local food pantries. In Warwick, the effort provided more than 3,100 pounds for Westbay Community Action Program through collections in the Bank’s Centerville Road, Warwick Avenue and West Shore Road branches.
In recent years, hunger in Rhode Island has grown to its highest level on record. According to a report by the USDA, 1 in 7 households in the Ocean State struggles to put food on the table. And, each month, more than 66,000 Rhode Islanders turn to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s network of emergency food programs for help.
Throughout the drive, each of BankRI’s 18 branches partnered with a food pantry in its community to ensure that all of the food collected will remain local to feed area residents. In addition to the food collected at the branches, BankRI awarded each pantry a financial grant, which will help them acquire additional food to stock their shelves. Each benefiting food pantry is a member of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s network of emergency food programs.
“The success of this year’s food drive is a direct result of the generosity of our customers and colleagues who recognize the importance of helping others,” Mark J. Meiklejohn, president and CEO of BankRI, said in a statement. “Being able to help local pantries during a time when the need further increases will have a tremendous impact on thousands of local families. Food is the most basic of all needs – there’s no reason for anyone in our community to go without a nutritious meal.”