Students are encouraged to donate food and clothing this holiday season. Graphic by Elizabeth Wong.
Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, which means different community groups, such as the Jonnycake Center and the University of Rhode Island Police Department, are giving back for the upcoming holiday.
Currently, the Jonnycake Center is accepting donations of food, furniture and clothes. The agency serves those in Narragansett, South Kingstown, Jamestown and Block Island who need help meeting basic needs. This includes students in need at the University of Rhode Island. The Jonnycake Center has a food pantry that members are allowed to use once a month. The center is also home to a thrift store.
In recent years, the center has done outreach and coaching for those who need help getting back on their feet.
The agency has a food distribution day on Nov. 26 as part of their Thanksgiving program. They give out turkeys, stuffing, potatoes and other items that go with a Thanksgiving dinner.
According to Jennifer Kruger, the social service director of the Jonnycake Center, the center could potentially serve up to 800 households, but tends to serve approximately 500-600 people.
The center is asking for donations of gift cards to local grocery stores and non-perishable food items to make this day a success. All of the net proceeds from the thrift store go their social service programs. This means that residents who shop at the thrift store that are not in need could help benefit the program.
“In the community that we live in, people want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to sit around a table with their family and their loved ones,” said Kruger. “I think any type of holiday that involves food and feasting, is a time to think about the broader community as your family. You want to make sure that no one is being left out of the opportunity to be connected. “
The URI Police Department is also giving back to the community. They recently completed their fourth annual school supply drive on campus.
URI police asked departments on campus, as well as several sororities and fraternities, to help raise funds for their cause. According to Paul Hanrahan, a community policing specialist, members of Greek Life donated $5,000 and other groups on campus donated $300.
Hanrahan and other police officers used this money to buy notebooks, pencils and backpacks from W.B Mason, Walmart and Staples. They delivered boxes of school supplies to schools in South Kingstown, North Kingstown and East Greenwich.
“Being a kid is hard enough as it is, no one should have to go to school without the proper supplies,” said Hanrahan. “Hopefully, we can get some future URI students off to a good start.”