EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The nonprofit organization We Share Hope in East Providence has more than doubled the amount of food that they give out to people in need over the past two years.
Executive Director Johanna Corcran tells 12 News the organization has seen a 130% increase since July 2020.
“Every week we are welcoming at least 30 to 35 new people through the door,” Corcran said.
Corcran said right now, one in six Rhode Islanders are facing food insecurity, and in one week alone the organization helped approximately 720 people.
She attributes the increase in food insecure Rhode Islanders to inflation.
The program partners with nearly 15 local grocery stores to collect food donations.
Those donations often don’t fit the cosmetic standards of retail stores, according to Corcran, meaning some of the food packaging may be damaged or are close to expiring.
She said in order to ensure everyone’s safety, the organization sifts through every donation meticulously.
“It’s really difficult to talk to our guests and learn their stories,” Corcran said. “Honestly, their stories are like so many other Rhode Islanders, ourselves included.”
“We are just here to help make things a little easier for them,” she added.
When guests arrive, they can head to the organization’s market where they can fill a bag for $5. Each guest is allowed to purchase three bags per trip.
That money, Corcran said, goes right back to the community.
“Everything is sort of a suggested donation,” she said. “The donations that come through the market enable us to deliver up to 60 pallets of food every week out to our nonprofit partners in the community.”
But if people don’t have the money to donate, Corcran said that’s OK too.
“Hunger effects all of us in a verity of different ways, it could be a neighbor it could be your child’s classmate,” she said.
There are roughly 100 volunteers that help stock shelves, load trucks and assist guests with filling up their bags. Cocran said they’re always looking for extra help.
The market is open Monday through Thursday, as well as the first and third Saturday every month.