The shelves of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale’s food pantry recently received a boost thanks to BankRI’s annual food drive at its Wakefield branch. Customers’ generosity to an in-branch collection, together with a charitable grant awarded by the bank for food acquisition, resulted in 3,130 pounds for the local nonprofit. Left to right: Kate Brewster, Executive Director, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale; Brenda Celani, Wakefield Branch Manager, BankRI; Julia Spadola, Teller Supervisor, BankRI; Jessica Laiter, Senior Teller, BankRI; and David Olguin, Food Pantry Director, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale.


PEACE DALE – The Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale’s year-round fight against hunger will be aided by a recent, large donation from Bank of Rhode Island (BankRI). In coordination with the generosity and numerous donations from its customer base, BankRI presented 3,130 pounds of food last week to the center in an effort to bolster its food assistance program. 

“Without the support of local businesses like BankRI, we would have a much more difficult time providing basic needs and resources to our neighbors in need,” said Kate Brewster, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale Executive Director. “We are extremely grateful.”

The Jonnycake Center provides food for families in need year round. Still, the fight against hunger is never more prevalent than during the winter and fall months and around the holidays. Brewster said the timing works out, due to the public’s willingness to donate. 

“Hunger is a problem 365 days a year,” she said. “However, we know people are more likely to give at the holidays as a good will gesture, so capitalizing on that generosity is important. We also provide Thanksgiving meals to more than 900 local individuals, which is in addition to our regular provisions, so we do need to stock a considerable amount of additional food.”

In 2018, the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale distributed approximately 280,000 pounds of food to local families and individuals in need. According to Brewster, annually, 25 percent of that distributed food comes from various community food drives and donations. 

“Clearly these efforts are incredibly important to our ability to fulfill our mission,” said Brewster. 

The recent donation to the Jonnycake Center is part of BankRI’s larger, statewide annual food drive. Every year for the past 12 years, on Aug. 1, the bank, which has a commercial location on Main Street in Wakefield, opens up its annual food drive at each of its 20 branches throughout the state, hosting a collection on behalf of the food pantry in the corresponding community. Along with the donations, BankRI also awarded each pantry a grant to acquire additional food through the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Each grant will allow for about an additional 3,000 pounds of food.

“Our annual food drive offers our customers and our staff an easy way to make a difference for local families and to join us in supporting an issue as important as fighting hunger,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO of BankRI. “Every donation counts, and every donation helps – I thank everyone who contributed to what was another great effort.”

The sentiment was shared by those on the receiving end. 

“Every year, we look forward to working with BankRI to get more food to our neighbors in need,” said Andrew Schiff, CEO of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “Our member agencies in communities throughout the state truly appreciate the support they receive from BankRI and its generous customers and staff.”

Those looking to help make a difference locally can bring food donations to the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale food pantry, 1183b Kingstown Road, during normal hours of operation. The center is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.