Each week on Tuesdays and Fridays, the Hope’s Harvest box truck pulls up at the green loading dock doors of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, drooping slightly under the weight of thousands of pounds of freshly gleaned produce. The Food Bank’s warehouse team is always ready to meet us; equipped with smiles, banter, and a forklift, they are primed to move this produce through their many programs and partners across the state to help get food into the homes of RI’s food insecure population.
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank provides healthy, nutritious food to 59,000 people per month through its network of member agencies. With the help of generous donors, as well as small gleaning projects like Hope’s Harvest and other partners across the state, the Food Bank’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders by advancing solutions to the problem of hunger.
The Food Bank began partnering with Hope’s Harvest in 2020, and since then their advanced distribution network has allowed more locally grown, gleaned produce than ever before to reach throughout their network of programs and partners. Hope’s Harvest, with crucial support from our Market Mobile team, often brings the Food Bank a variety of crops from numerous smaller farms around the state. Their acceptance of large consolidated donations from multiple farms allows local food to circulate to more agencies and fill more bellies more efficiently than Hope’s Harvest would be able to without their partnership.
The Food Bank’s work extends well beyond their partnership with Hope’s Harvest into a multitude of programs like SNAP Outreach, Retail Rescue, Healthy Habits Nutrition Education, school pantries, Meals4Kids Boxes, Kids Cafe, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for Seniors. Externally, by partnering with over 140 meal sites and food pantries from Westerly to Woonsocket, the Food Bank is able to work with a diverse array of people and help meet their needs in ways specific to their struggles and lifestyles. From providing culturally appropriate foods to organizations like the Center for Southeast Asians in Providence to opening school-based food pantries, the Food Bank is often at the center of local work to strengthen our emergency food system and provide nutritional access to people who have been systemically and historically underserved. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and federal benefits to mitigate its impacts slowly vanish, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and its member agencies are key players in ensuring healthy food access to the most vulnerable among us.
If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, the Food Bank welcomes your support! Check out their website for various ways to support their work, and make sure to stay up to date with them on social media (Facebook, Instagram) to get wind of new partners, programs, and upcoming events.