Many local, state, and federal programs offer assistance to families and individuals who are facing food insecurity. Here are some of them:
● Food pantries and meal sites are in operation throughout the state. For a list of locations, hours, languages spoken, and more, visit the Food Bank.
● The state-administered federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, formerly called food stamps, helps needy families and individuals buy food. Information on eligibility and application is at this link.
● The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC, “provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Learn more and apply through the links here.
● Several programs that provide breakfast, lunch, and after-school snacks and meals, are available for schoolchildren. Learn more here.
● Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island provides elders home-delivered meals, pet food and supplies, and other food-related services. Details on this page or call (401) 351-6700.
● The state Office of Health Aging helps fund some 70 Community Table sites at senior centers, restaurants and other locations. Locations are listed here or dial (401) 462-4444 or 211.
● People of any age needing help with food (and housing, childcare, and other needs) can dial The United Way of Rhode Island’s 211 line, which is answered by trained professionals around the clock, 365 days a year. Translation is available in many languages. “One call connects you with the appropriate resources you need in your community.” Learn more here.
● The state’s Health Equity Zone Initiative, from the Rhode Island Department of Health, works to address the social determinants of health, including improving access to nutritious food. Links to the initiative’s programs are on this page.