CHARLESTOWN - Lines of hungry people seeking food extend out the door and into the parking lot of the Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need (RI-CAN), the food pantry on the corner of Routes 112 and 91 in Charlestown.
The organizations founder and director, Deb Nigrelli, has said that while the pantry just moved to their newer, bigger and better location last summer, they still need help, and are looking to improve their facilities to better serve local individuals and families in need.
“We need more volunteers, we need more help and we need more food,” Nigrelli said.
RI-CAN also needs more money.
“Until we get the funding we need,” she said, “we are just going to have to rough it in here.” Heat is used sparingly throughout the building, even in the bitter cold winter months, to conserve money, and there are leaks in the shoddy ceiling.
While it will take an ongoing effort from the community for RI-CAN to continue to improve its facilities and provide the highest quality assistance, the organization recently received a little help from a friend.
Rep. Donna Walsh (D - 36 Charlestown, New Shoreham, South Kingstown, Westerly) presented Nigrelli and RI-CAN with a $2,000 legislative grant that she secured for assistance to the organization.
Walsh presented the grant to Nigrelli in person, and toured the facility, meeting the staff, and seeing how quickly the shelves at the pantry turn from full to bare.
Nigrelli told Walsh that during one three hour period earlier this month, approximately 160 families came through the pantry doors, forming a long line outside in the cold.
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