WESTERLY — The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded $180,000 in end-of-the-year special grants to restock local food pantries.

Locally, the Jonnycake Center of Westerly received $15,000. The center serves more than 3,000 residents of Westerly, Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton. Another $50,000 went to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, which will use the funding to make 150,000 pounds of food available to area food pantries, including the WARM Center Meal Site Program in Westerly, the Rhode Island Center Assisting those in Need in Charlestown and the New Hope Pantry in Richmond.

"While we continue to pursue long-term solutions to poverty, we also support these organizations in providing immediate and critical assistance to struggling Rhode Islanders," said Neil D. Steinberg, the foundation’s president and CEO. According to the R.I. Community Food Bank’s 2019 Report on Hunger, Rhode Islanders in need missed over 11 million meals last year.

"Throughout the past year, we have seen a rising need from the community for food and emergency assistance. Thanks to this generous contribution, we will be in a good position to start the new year well-equipped to continue serving local neighbors in need," said Lee Eastbourne, executive director of the Jonnycake Center of Westerly.

“We’ll use the funding to prepare food baskets containing milk, eggs, meat, bread, fresh produce and a variety of nonperishable groceries. Our ‘Power Pack’ meals provide nutritious, delicious meals for children on weekends and holidays," he added.

Also receiving grants were the Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston; Connecting for Children and Families in Woonsocket; the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport; the East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence; and the Jonnycake Center for Hope in South Kingstown.

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