1. What is the mission of the East Bay Food Pantry, Inc (EBFP)?
- “Engage, educate and empower the East Bay in creating a hunger-free community.”
- The East Bay Food Pantry partners with other like-minded organizations in the East Bay to best serve our client population (e.g., RI Community Food Bank, First Congregational Church in Bristol, East Bay Cares Program-Bristol County Elks, and We Share).
- The EBFP offers both a client-choice food pantry and a low-cost thrift shop. The thrift shop was established as a way to sustain the EBFP mission.
2. How are the First Congregational Church (FCC) and East Bay Food Pantry connected? Do you have to go to FCC to volunteer at EBFP?
- EBFP was initially an outreach mission of the First Congregational Church. It is now a separate 501c(3) non-profit organization, but has the church’s continual and ongoing support.
- Currently 80% of the active volunteers in the pantry and thrift shop are coming from outside of the FCC community.
3. How is the EBFP connected to the RI Community Food Bank?
- As a member agency, EBFP is eligible to purchase food directly at 10 cents per pound and to receive free items as available.
- EBFP is helping to support their goal of offering more sites with more hours of operation to improve accessibility to those in need.
4. Who is eligible to shop?
- Residents of the East Bay including Bristol, Warren, Barrington, and East Providence can shop in the food pantry. Holiday pantry hours are on Wednesdays from 10-5.
- Anyone can shop in the thrift shop. The thrift shop is open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10-5. Pantry clients only may shop on Wednesdays during pantry hours (10-5).
5. How much food does a client receive?
- The food pantry is a “client-choice” system. The amount varies according to a client’s need, food preferences, and household size, but equals about one week’s food per family member.
6. How do you know if pantry clients are really in need and not abusing the system?
- Food is available to anyone stating need. The EBFP operates on an honor system; income is not verified.
- However, pantry clients complete an application, which includes an inquiry of any income sources and of other household assistance received such as free school lunch, food stamps, and rental assistance. These are markers of need, verified by the state, that support a client’s statement of need.
- Clients are eligible to pantry shop once a month. A photo ID is required and a shopping log with their signature is maintained.
7. How can I donate to the pantry/thrift shop? What is needed? When can I drop things off?
- Monetary donations are always welcome and can be mailed to us or made via PayPal (see link in our sidebar). All donations are tax-deductible. Please consider joining our Become a CAN MAN FAN! Appeal!
- Donations can be dropped off for the food pantry and thrift shop during hours of operation on Wednesdays through Saturdays 10-5.
- The food pantry needs non-perishable food items, especially canned meat and fish, peanut butter, whole grain cereals and pasta, brown rice, spaghetti sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, and healthy soups. Click here to see our full list of Food Pantry Needs.
- We accept fresh produce from local gardeners through our Grow A Row program.
- The thrift shop accepts gently used clothing, select toys, and household items (based on space available) Thrift Shop Needs.
8. What other ways can I help and be involved?
- Volunteer opportunities exist in the food pantry, thrift shop and office (administrative support).
- There are special events opportunities, to help plan and coordinate fundraising and awareness-raising events, throughout the year.
- Time or talent to share? Stop by during open hours or contact our Executive Director.
- You can print, complete and send us your Volunteer Application.
9. How great is the need for food in our area?
- Statistics about hunger and food insecurity are available from the Rhode Island Food Bank. Click the link for, current hunger and food insecurity statistics.
10.Do you provide fresh produce at the EBFP?
- Yes! We receive fresh foods through our Grow A Row program. Produce is available to our guests on our produce cart which was built and donated by First Congregational Church Confirmation Class 2010. The produce cart will be used to display fresh produce for our clients every Wednesday during the growing season.