RICHMOND — Chariho Furniture is hosting a food drive benefiting the Rhode Island Center Assisting those in Need and offering customers a discount in exchange for getting in on the action.

Now through Christmas Eve, those donating at least seven nonperishable food items to the drive will save 7% off their entire purchase at the American-handcrafted furniture store. RICan is the largest food pantry in southern Rhode Island and is located at 805 Alton Carolina Road in Charlestown. 

“I so believe in what they do and have done for this community,” said Ed Smith, who owns and operates Chariho Furniture with his daughter, Stephanie. “It’s a pantry where clients can shop weekly as opposed to once a month like other pantries. The need is so great and they do an awesome job of assisting those in need.” 

Beginning now and through Christmas Eve, Chariho Furniture will have collection boxes set up in its showroom where customers can bring nonperishable food donations to benefit RICan’s food drive. Established in 2001, RICan is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization providing emergency food, clothing and other vital supports to neighbors in crisis throughout the state, primarily in Washington County and surrounding areas. Its annual holiday food drive is one of many means through which the organization provides food for over 20,000 clients throughout the year. 

Chariho Furniture and the Smiths are no strangers to working with the local food pantry. In addition to volunteering at RICan, Chariho Furniture has participated in the food drive in the past, and has sponsored RICan’s annual Polar Plunge and golf tournament events.

“We’ve always kind of been involved with RICan,” said Stephanie Smith. “My parents and I would actually go, stock the shelves. My dad would bring food out to people’s cars. We did that on every Wednesday for a few years. It was eye-opening. And you feel helpful, you feel good after doing something like that.” 

Stephanie said the 7% discount offered at Chariho Furniture during the drive, equal to the Rhode Island sales tax, in exchange for the food donation, is a true win-win for customers.  

“Our customers can save hundreds of dollars by bringing in seven cans of soup or vegetables,” she said. “Of course, we hope people will consider making a donation even if they are not making a purchase with us.”

“A lot of places do put boxes out where you can donate, and when you check out at a lot of places you can donate $1 or $2,” Stephanie continued. “And that’s nice and that’s good, but we want a lot of people to bring in these items so we want to give back in a way as well, kind of an incentive for people to give.”  

Stephanie Smith said although the food drive began only a few days ago, the collection box in Chariho Furniture’s showroom was already overflowing. 

“That’s really good to see,” she said. “You never know if people will actually show up and donate, but they are.” 

All donations will be delivered to RICan by the Chariho Furniture team after the holidays, continuing a tradition of the business and the family behind it assisting those in need. 

“We try to give back to the community a lot in many ways, but RICan has been personal to us,” Smith concluded. “It’s easy to write out a check for Little League, but once you’re involved, it’s a little bit more on a personal level.”

Chariho Furniture is a 32-year-old family owned furniture retailer that only sells high quality, American-made furniture. They are located at the junction of Routes 112 and 138 in Richmond.

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