Steve and Chris Bartlett accept a check for $300 from Steve Salfeety, a representative of the EG Lion’s Club.
The EG Interfaith Food Pantry has two new freezers, a new refrigerator and a refurbished food storage space thanks to a grant from the Champlin Foundations this spring.
“One of our goals is to improve nutrition,” said Steve Bartlett, who runs the food pantry together with his wife, Chris. “It’s easy to open a can of beef-a-roni and if fills your stomach and that’s important. But it’s nicer to be able to offer fresh vegetables and other fresh foods.”
Bartlett noted they’d been giving out stabilized shelf milk for years. It sits on the shelf until you are ready to use it then it can go in a person’s refrigerator. But lately they’ve gotten ahold of some fresh milk.
“Our clients just love it,” Bartlett said. “Every once in a while, we’re able to get apples or potatoes and they go very quickly. Clients want them.”
“At the end of the year, we were notified by the Rhode Island Food Bank that they had received a Champlin grant that could be used by member agencies to do renovations or to buy equipment to upgrade their facilities,” he explained. The Champlin Foundations offer grants to a variety of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.
“We applied for a portion of the grant. We asked for freezers and a cooler and got two single freezers and a commercial refrigerator,” he said.
The pantry is housed in a classroom at St. Luke’s church and Bartlett praised the church for allowing the pantry to move the freezers into the classroom. In fact, he said, they suggested it.
“St. Luke’s has been very good supporter of us.”
New shelving at the food pantry purchased with money from the Champlin grant.
In addition to the freezers and refrigerator, the food pantry got $3,000 cash to pay for improvements.
“It allowed us to buy the industrial shelving and a couple of carts,” said Bartlett. Most of the labor was done by volunteers, but they did spend a little money on a painter. In addition, they got a window-unit air conditioner for the room.
“The grant was a tremendous help. We didn’t have to use any of our resources,” he said. On the food front, the Bartletts had just accepted 170 cans of food and $300 from the Lion’s Club, which collected the food through the East Greenwich Little League’s Opening Day.
“It’s groups like the Lion’s Club and other organizations and so many individuals who make this work,” said Bartlett.
The pantry gave out more than 60,000 food items last year, serving more than 3,500 people. About half of the food they give out is donated, the other half is purchased. It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to noon.