Founded in 1981, the North Kingstown Food Panty (NKFP) has been putting food on tables for 42 years. Something about the holidays reminds folks that donating food is a wonderful way to give back, but at this nonprofit, feeding the hungry is an essential job that operates all year.. In 2022, the pantry provided 164,000 meals and is experiencing a 36% increase in 2023.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” Approximately 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity. Many factors worsen the hunger crisis, such as income, employment, race/ethnicity, and disability. Following the national trend, the NKFP has seen a steep increase in the number of people with limited access to food.
According to the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, in 2022 North Kingstown had 1,134 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants; 3,953 students enrolled for free or reduced meals; and 125 Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants. While these numbers are much less when compared to our state average, the NKFP does its best to provide food to all those in need.
Thanksgiving Gets Busy
NKFP Operations Manager Stephen E. Souls has been working at the pantry for over five years. This Thanksgiving, Souls will oversee providing Thanksgiving dinner to approximately 400 families – with a volunteer staff of over 60 people. Like those the pantry helps, volunteers come from different backgrounds and span in age from 16 to incredibly mature. All are focused on the same mission: to envision a community where no one goes hungry.
I just walked into the food pantry to get my turkey and food items and when I got there, everyone was so nice to me...One lady even offered me a ride home and actually dropped me off at home. She even gave me hug. All I have to say is that everyone at the food pantry have got a genuine heart of gold.
It's heartwarming stories like Johanna's that make all the hard work behind the Thanksgiving and holiday donation baskets worth it.
Location, Location, Location
You’ve most likely spotted a NKFP donation bin in a local store but did you know the pantry has the distinction of being located in an historical building, arguably one of the most historic food pantries in the U.S.? Yes, the Little Red School House on 445 School Street is the NKFP's home. Founded in 1867 and remembered by NK residents in many ways, the Little Red School House was repurposed and refurnished in 2013 to welcome North Kingstown's growing food pantry.
Soon the building will be filled with holiday cheer, savory aromas, and the warm feelings that fill one’s soul with giving back. Here's how you can get invloved with the North Kingstown Food Pantry: