PROVIDENCE, RI – On Tuesday, June 25, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank launched the 2019 Summer Food Drive to address the need for food assistance, particularly for children, all summer long. 

This year the Summer Food Drive was given a boost by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, whose CEO Kim Keck announced a $10,000 donation to the Food Bank to acquire and distribute food this summer.  In addition, the staff at Blue Cross collected more than 3,600 pounds of snacks for kids during their Summer Snackdown.

As Keck explained, “No child should experience hunger, especially during the summer months when they should be free to play, laugh and grow. Our staff did an incredible job collecting 6,257 healthy food items to help families in our communities and we know the Food Bank will distribute them where they’re needed most. And we’re happy to present this additional donation to continue the effort to ensure that Rhode Island children do not go hungry in the summer. ”

Children are particularly vulnerable once school closes and they no longer have access to the free and reduced-price lunches they receive all year long. At the same time, food donations overall generally decrease. Food banks and pantries scramble to keep enough healthy, nutritious food on the shelves to support these families. 

“This donation from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, combined with the efforts of our many corporate partners, goes a long way.” said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff. “But the fact is our member agencies across the state continue to serve thousands of people each month – even during the summer. The need doesn’t end because it is vacation time.”

The Food Bank’s statewide network of 158 food pantries and meal sites now serves 53,000 people every month. One in three served by the Food Bank is a child under the age of 18.

In addition to Blue Cross, many local businesses and organizations are engaged in activities to support the Food Bank this summer.

PriceRite Marketplace is funding Meals4Kids boxes that provide a week’s worth of shelf stable food for kids in need. Stop & Shop has moved their Food 4 Friends program to the summer so they will be asking for register donations through the middle of July. Local New England Ford Dealers are once again donating $10 for every car sold during the month of August.

Citizens Bank, Cox Communications and the Pawtucket Red Sox have partnered for the thirteenth year for the Strike Out Hunger program in which Citizens donates $60 every time a PawSox pitcher strikes out a player on the opposing team with a goal of raising $60,000 by the end of the season.

Other businesses and organizations that are supporting the Food Bank this summer include : Dave’s Marketplace, the Children’s Workshop, the Corvette Club of Rhode Island, Bridge Technical Talent, PGE Credit Union, Eastside Marketplace, Johnson & Johnson, Top This Pizza Crust and Neighborhood Health Plan.

Schiff added: “Every day, we see working families struggling to put food on the table despite an improving economy.  That’s why we appreciate everyone who participates in the Summer Food Drive and joins us in ending hunger all year long.”

The public is invited to pick up food drive posters and collection bins at the Food Bank on any weekday (except holidays) between 8 am and 4 pm. Financial donations also support the Summer Food Drive and may be made online at www.rifoodbank.org.

About the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank distributes food to 53,000 struggling Rhode Islanders each month through a statewide network of 158 member agencies including food pantries, meal sites, shelters, youth programs and senior centers. The Food Bank solicits food donations from the public and from the food industry, including supermarkets, food manufacturers and growers.  To keep up with the high demand for food assistance, the Food Bank also acquires food at low cost from wholesalers.  Annually, the Food Bank distributes 10.6 million pounds of food. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. For more information, visit www.rifoodbank.org.