WESTERLY — The Jonnycake Center of Westerly will use a $1,000 legislative grant obtained by state Rep. Sam Azzinaro, D-Westerly, to purchase food for its emergency food assistance programs.

The center’s emergency food assistance programs fight hunger with a four-pronged approach. The Monthly Food Assistance Program provides a week’s worth of food to local residents every 30 days to supplement government programs. Nearly 3,000 residents of Westerly, Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond seek this monthly food assistance on a regular basis, according to Bambi Poppick, spokeswoman for the center. In the past year the center distributed the equivalent of more than 201,000 meals.

During school vacations, the Summer Program Looking to Alleviate Student Hunger, or SNAP, provides additional breakfast and lunch meals to any child in the center’s service area who qualifies for free or reduced school meal programs.

The center’s weekly farmers market is made possible during summer months through a collaboration with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the University of Rhode Island’s Master Gardener program, local municipal community gardens, and local farmers who share their produce. The market is conducted each Wednesday from July to October.

The fourth part of the center’s emergency food assistance program is its Power Pack Program, which provides food for school children on the weekends during the school year.

Azzinaro has served the residents of District 37 in Westerly since first being elected in November 2008. He is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and also serves as a member of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, the House Committee on Rules and the House Committee on Small Business.

House and Senate lawmakers use the legislative grant program to provide funds to to nonprofit or government entities in need. Poppick announced the center’s receipt of the grant on Monday.

— Dale P. Faulkner

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