As the summer goes on, the Westbay Marketplace is in need of some popular food items to provide for those in need.
Westbay Community Action Program Executive Director Jeanne Gattegno explained that with children not in school, many families are in need of more food during the summer months. At the same time, however, summer is not the best time for donations.
“Historically, summer is a slow time for donations,” said Gattegno, citing that because people go on vacation or do more during the summer months, they are often unable to make donations to the Marketplace.
“It is a combination of things,” added Gattegno.
She explained that food for the Marketplace is often provided through a number of outlets, including through relationships with the Rhode Island Food Bank, markets or churches and other groups.
“We’re funded in a variety of ways for food,” said Gattegno, including receiving funds from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Last fall, the organization received $13,300 from FEMA.
However, Gattegno said the annual money from FEMA is running out and it is not yet time to apply for next year’s funds. Applications for FEMA funding are released in late August and decisions are made sometime in the fall.
“It’s a transition period,” she added.
Westbay Community Action will hopefully be getting some much needed help from a food drive sponsored by BankRI. The bank kicked off a seven-week food drive today, with collections at their 18 Rhode Island branches.
In an effort to keep collected food in the local community, all donations collected at the Buttonwoods, Centerville Road and Warwick Avenue branches will be given to Westbay Community Action.
“Holding our food drive towards the end of the summer when children no longer have access to summer meal programs and are still a few weeks from receiving meals at school will help a lot of families,” Mark J. Meiklejohn, president and CEO of BankRI, said in a press release. “Our customers and staff are known for giving back, and I know they will respond generously to this effort to help pantries replenish their shelves.”
The BankRI food drive will go on until Sept. 20.
The Westbay Marketplace accepts both monetary donations and donations of food. According to a notice sent to the Beacon, the Marketplace is especially in need of popular items such as hardy soups, grape jelly, canned fruit, cereal, oatmeal and peanut butter. These are considered high-demand food items and the stock is dwindling.
If you are interested in donating to the Westbay Marketplace, contact Marketplace Manager Joshua-Michael Corrente at 732-4660, ext. 140.