May 30, 2020

East Prov Nonprofits Win COVID-19 Aid to Provide Food and Other Basic Needs

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East Providence, RI -- Local nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis are among the organizations that will share $2.1 million from the COVID-19 Response Fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island.

Good Neighbors is one of the local organizations that won funding in the latest round of grants from the fund, which now has awarded $5.7 million since last month. The agency received $25,000 to re-stock its food pantry on Turner Avenue. The agency expects the grant will enable it to help as many as 800 households a month for the foreseeable future.

"Due to the COVID pandemic, a staggering number of individuals need our food pantry facilities to make ends meet. We're seeing new faces every time we open," said Ric Wild, Executive Director. "The grant will enable us to purchase thousands of pounds of food to help feed families."

Good Neighbors suspended its regular meal site and day shelter programs due to the crisis. It is providing pre-bagged nonperishable items, frozen meats, produce and bread available for pick-up only on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

In addition to Good Neighbors, Foster Forward also received a grant. The East Providence-based nonprofit will provide for direct financial assistance and material resources for transition-age youth and foster and adoptive families in its programs. (The full list of awardees and a brief description of what each grant will support is posted here.)

“The need is beyond even what we expected. While generous donors have already contributed $7 million, we're seeing demand for funding grow even faster. Our backlog of applications significantly exceeds the resources that are left and we expect requests will grow by several million dollars, which is why we must keep raising money for the fund in all amounts,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

“As we continue to learn more about the heroic work happening every day to serve neighbors in our community, we are hearing from more and more nonprofit leaders who are facing impossible choices, such as reducing frontline staff and cutting essential services,” said United Way of Rhode Island President and CEO Cortney Nicolato. “Rhode Islanders depend on the nonprofit community every day, but today financial support is more critical than ever: our support has the power to provide services to the most vulnerable Rhode Islanders who've historically been disproportionately impacted by health disparities."

Gifts to the fund, in any amount, can be made with the Foundation at rifoundation.org/covid19response or to United Way at uwri.org. Donations will be accepted as long as the need continues.

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