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Case Statement

For over 30 years the residents and businesses of North Kingstown have been very supportive of the North Kingstown Food Pantry- a silent, but vital entity serving individuals and families in our community on a daily basis. Community generosity of food and finances over the years has enabled the pantry to keep up with the increasing needs of the community.  This past summer, North Kingstown heard our desperate pleas and saved the pantry at its most critical time of desperation, when the shelves and bank account were literally empty due to the increased need. We know what the economy has been like in the past few years and how this depressed economy has affected the ability of our food pantry to fulfill our mission of serving those individuals and families who depend on us the most.

While the pantry has always received wonderful support from the community, there is still the impression by some that North Kingstown is an affluent town and does not really have much need for the services offered by a local food pantry. Statistics for North Kingstown over the last few years explain the continuing and increasing need for the food pantry and its expansion to meet those needs:

  • Collected data shows that individuals served by the Food Pantry has increased by over 1,000 from 2010 through 2012!
  • Beginning in June of 2012 the pantry began to receive approximately 100 more individual requests per month for assistance.
  • On an average over 7500 meals per month are now being served from the pantry.
  • Last fall in a Providence Journal article it was noted that 18% of our residents live at, or below the poverty level!
  • North Kingstown one of the highest homeless rates in the state.

Due to the increased volume of requests, the existing pantry space is very inadequate and cannot handle the volume of food donations necessary to meet the daily needs of those within our community who depend on us.  Following a search of locations, the organization has formed a partnership with the Town of North Kingstown by leasing the vacant Little Red School House building at 455 School Street in North Kingstown. To meet public safety standards it is now our responsibility to make changes to this building as a permanent home for the North Kingstown Food Pantry.  With all our help, we will enable the pantry to fulfill its mission by:

  • Improving food sorting & storage with expanded, efficient space.
  • Better economic food purchasing, both locally and through the RI Community Food Bank.  Currently, the food pantry does not receive any aid from the RI Community Food Bank due to a lack of suitable space to store the quantities of food that the RI food bank could provide.
  • More efficient service to recipients, including an indoor waiting area as well as a location that is more convenient to many of the families seeking  the services of the food pantry.

The United Methodist Church has been an outstanding, supportive facility for many years, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for the church to meet the increased food storage needs that are now required to service our community.  The pantry space is not much larger than a good sized closet, and we often use  their common space for storage.  Not only is this an inconvenience to the church, but it also makes it difficult for pantry volunteers to search for food items each day to meet the needs of families requesting food.

The Little Red Schoolhouse has been part of our community for over 100 years.  We need to bring it “up to code” and make it safe for anyone to use it. Due to the “change of use” the building needs to be brought up to code with ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements and new RI Fire Codes. These upgrades (such as new electrical, a furnace, handicap ramp & doorways to name a few) will cost approximately $100,000 and are required before we can occupy the building. The Town of North Kingstown has generously leased the building to us but they are not in a position to fund these upgrades. We do have a time limit of one year to complete the upgrades in order to occupy the building.

Fundraising for this Capital Campaign is a new initiative for the NK Food Pantry. To achieve our goal, we are asking all those who believe in this cause to consider a cash gift, pledge, or gift in kind to help us “turn the lights on” in the Little Red Schoolhouse. At  the same time you will be helping us to “keep the lights on” by allowing the Food Pantry to remain a vital force in our community for as long as the need remains. You will begin to see lots of “fun” raising ideas in the near future. We hope you will consider helping us help our fellow friends and neighbors in need.