Jamestown Community Food Pantry Fund

“Do you want cheese or cold cuts?

There’s yogurt.

And there are fresh herbs on the bottom there.

Here, have a few tomatoes and some garlic.”

This kind of dialogue is common at the Pantry which operates under the “client choice” model. This model has been proven to reduce waste as families are more likely to eat foods that they choose and know how to prepare—chicken, meats, fish, and hot dogs, as well as breads, dry and canned goods. Fresh fruits and vegetables come from local farms and gardens, including from the Jamestown Community Farm.

They are committed to distributing as much nutritious food as possible—meats, milk, cheese, eggs and other fresh items so that children, families, and the elderly can get the nutrition they need to live healthy, productive lives.

“We don’t participate in the state food bank so it allows us to be more flexible. Volunteers do the shopping, filling the shelves with what our community needs and wants,” says Deb Nordstrom, co-manager and president of the board.

Elizabeth Bentley started using the pantry during COVID-19. “I had lost three jobs—I work in restaurants right on the island—during the pandemic everything shut down and I just couldn’t keep up.” Elizabeth, 45, has three daughters, two—ages 9 and 17—still living at home. “The pantry is so well-stocked. I have a daughter who is lactose intolerant and they even stock lactose-free products for us.”

The Jamestown Community Food Pantry serves individuals, families, the young, and the elderly throughout the Jamestown community. As an all-volunteer organization—including management, planning, fundraising, and outreach—all donations and contributions are dedicated to supporting the ongoing operations.

"The Jamestown Community Food Pantry has long admired the important work of the Rhode Island Foundation,” says Board Member Sally Schott. “We have reached a point in our organization's existence where we are on solid footing and able to serve the needs of our community today while planning for the future. We felt it critical to take steps now to maximize the benefit of generous donations and ensure ongoing support for Jamestown residents in need.”