WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — East Bay families and seniors who are experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis will soon receive healthy, prepared meals at no cost thanks to a local organization.
Hope & Main, a nonprofit food business incubator, announced the launch of a new food access program called “Nourish Our Neighbors.”
“We recognized a need and felt we were in a unique position to step up to meet the moment,” President and Founder of Hope & Main Lisa Raiola said.
At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the nonprofit partnered with the Bristol Warren Regional School District (BWRD) to serve as a meal distribution site for families affected by the loss of free and reduced breakfast and lunch while school is being done remotely.
In the past three weeks, Hope & Main has distributed over 900 children’s meals.
“We see these families every day, and every day the number of families in need increases. What concerns me is we are still only seeing a fraction of the families that we know are eligible in the district,” Hope & Main’s Market Manager and liaison to BWSD Caitlin Mandel said. “I am looking forward to seeing how the Nourish Our Neighbors program can help us reach more families who need extra support to cope with the impact of this crisis.”
The program will also “feed the local economy” by meals being sourced through local purveyors ad well as packaging and a number of the organization’s prepared meals and catering companies will be hired to cook each week.
“Everyone is being affected, and sadly, some are going to bed hungry. I am a new meal service producer at Hope & Main and thought, ‘What better opportunity to test out commercial production while providing sustenance for local families experiencing food insecurity,'” Culinary Nutritionist & Chef of The Holistic Trick, LLC Haley Pollock said.
Starting April 7, family meals will be available for pickup on Tuesday and Friday mornings between 8-11 a.m. in coordination with the existing school lunch pick up at Hope & Main.
For seniors who are quarantined, individual meals will be delivered to the Warren and Barrington Senior Centers and the Benjamin Church Senior Center in Bristol for distribution.
An online fundraiser to support this effort was started by Hope & Main as part of United Way’s 401Gives.
The organization aims to raise $36,000 to support the Nourish Our Neighbors program.
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