The East Bay Food Pantry in Bristol runs a grocery store-style food pantry which allows its clients to pick and choose products based on their household size and needs. To do this, they purchase food from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank at rates as low as five cents a pound for some items, meaning monetary donations go a long way towards their efforts to support the community. “We’re always looking to get more sustainable donors – monthly donors who help us to diversify our funding as much as possible,” says executive director Nicki Ann Tyska. Basically, while donating food items its always appreciated, the food pantry can get a lot more out of your dollar than you could at the grocery store.
In addition to their pantry and thrift shop, where people can donate and purchase clothing and furniture, the East Bay Food Pantry rolls out special holiday initiatives, like buying gifts for children in struggling families and sending clients home with a bag of holiday-specific food items. Though this time of year tends to bring out the charitable spirit in people, Nicki stresses the importance of giving beyond the holiday months. As she puts it, “Hunger isn’t just around the holidays, it’s year round.”