food pantry

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Islanders hail from all over the world, and so too do the dishes and traditions we practice during the holidays. To sample some of this season’s international flavors, Rhode Island Public Radio sent reporters into several communities. Kristin Gourlay begins our story at a Liberian restaurant. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison and producer Nate Mooney also contributed to this piece.          

In late August, the power was shut off at the River United Methodist Church. The church, in the heart of downtown Woonsocket, was about a thousand bucks in arrears on its electric bill.  The guy from National Grid apologized for doing what he had to do.

Church members, who specialize in doing a whole lot with very little, scrambled to do what they always do.   They took food from freezers and refrigerators and headed to a nearby park to feed hungry people. 

RIPR FILE

This month, the number of Rhode Islanders seeking help from a statewide network of food pantries has declined. It’s the first decline, says Rhode Island Community Food Bank spokeswoman Cindy Elder, since the beginning of the economic recession in 2008.

“It’s not quite a reason to rejoice because we’re still really at remarkable high levels of need for food assistance.”