The Rhode Island Food Dealers Association and two of its members, Packaging & More and Price Rite, are teaming up with the city of Central Falls and Mayor Maria Rivera to host a series of community food distribution events at Packaging & More’s headquarters at 30 Higginson Ave.
The distribution events are being planned to begin in late May and will be free and open to the public. The only eligibility requirement is that visitors must wear a facemask when picking up their donation. Dates will be announced to the public as they are scheduled and will also be listed at rifda.com.
“We’re extremely proud of the coordinated effort between our members and the city of Central Falls to make these food distribution events a reality,” said Steven Arthurs, president and CEO of RIFDA. “The pandemic has made it very difficult for working-class families to keep nutritious food on the table and in the pantry, and we’re happy to do what we can to help support the community during this time of need.”
Originally coordinated by Dr. Beata Nelken, a pediatrician practicing in Central Falls who made headlines this past summer for her efforts to expand COVID-19 testing capacities in minority communities, the food distribution effort came to life recently after a meeting between representatives from RIFDA, Packaging & More, PriceRite and the city of Central Falls in March.
“Between the high costs of housing to health care and transportation, we hear from many residents how challenging it is to consistently put food on the table while making ends meet. These food donations have the ability to make a family’s week significantly more comfortable,” said Rivera. “This is our community helping our community, and I’m proud to live and lead in a city that puts our residents first.”
PriceRite, a member of RIFDA, agreed to support the effort with product and gift card donations. Packaging & More pledged to host the distribution events and Rivera promised to use the city’s various social media platforms and other communications tools to inform Central Falls residents of the efforts.
“With our ties to the community of Central Falls as a member of the RIFDA, we feel a responsibility to provide relief to our neighbors when it’s needed most,” said Joe Amorim, district manager of Price Rite. “We hope that our donations serve the residents of Central Falls well, and we are proud to be a part of this thoughtful and impactful initiative.”
“Central Falls has been home to Packaging & More for nearly 28 years, and in that time, we’ve become extremely invested in the community,” said Tony E. Fonseca, owner/operator. “We hate to see our neighbors struggling to provide for their families, and so the least we could do is offer our space as a place for members of the community to gather for some much-needed relief.”