FAQs & Statistics


How many people does the Center feed every year?


We feed nearly 3,000 unique individuals every year from Westerly, Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton, Rhode Island.



How much food do you give out in a year?


In the past year we distributed over 206,644 equivalent meals to local residents. Each month on average we hand out 9 tons of food to the community.



How large is the food pantry?


It is 1,802 square feet in size, and has an industrial size walk-in refrigerator/freezer and six aisles of non-perishable food. In terms of volume, it is one of the busiest in Washington County.



Why do you sell the items that are donated?


Selling the donated items allows the Center to pay OUR bills—rent, utilities, and payroll. That way, when folks donate money for food or to help their neighbors with rent or utility bills and heat, ALL of their donations go straight back out to the community to those who need financial assistance.


But, one thing a lot of people may not know is that we distribute vouchers averaging a total of $2,000 per month to people who need items from the store but cannot afford them– like clothes for children, furniture to replace what was lost in a fire, clothes for a job interview, dishes and pots and pans for someone who was homeless and finally moving into their own apartment again. Additionally, we distribute free durable medical equipment for folks who need them but cannot afford them—like crutches, shower seats…even wheelchairs!



Why was my donation declined?


We can only take items that we believe we will be able to sell, so sometimes we have to decline items that are out of season or are unlikely to find a buyer. If clothes or furniture are soiled or in poor condition we cannot accept them as we have no way to clean them or repair them.  While we are grateful for every donation, we cannot afford to accept items that we know we will have to throw away. It would, in the end, cost us money—and that will not help our effort.  We hope you understand.


Is hunger really an issue in South County?


Yes!  South County is not immune to issues of hunger, and thousands turn to us each year because they need food assistance. We are distributing food in record amounts: in just the month of October, 2011, 1,023 individuals received food from the Jonnycake Center. And we are seeing a lot of new faces turning to us for help You might want to learn more about this issue at the following links: the 2015 Rhode Island KidsCount Fact Book , Feeding America, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank  and Economic Progress Institute.


A recent report on hunger in Rhode Island was issued by the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and you can learn more by following this link: 2015-16 Annual Report.

 Who comes to the Center for assistance?


People from the Towns of Westerly, Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton, Rhode Island come to the Center for assistance. Some of our clients have long known poverty, and some have just lost their job or are experiencing other financial crises—like suddenly being displaced from their homes due to a house fire or a domestic violence situation. The majority of the people we help are elderly, disabled or minor children.  There are many who are working and still are having trouble making ends meet. Our clients may be your neighbor, or your grandmother, or the single mom down the street with two small children. They might be your coworker, or someone from your church, or someone who waits on you in a restaurant. Most importantly, they are your neighbors—a member of our community who needs a hand.



What does food insecurity mean?


Food insecurity occurs when people in a household live in risk of hunger or fear they will not have access to food. Worldwide, some 17,000 children die from hunger each day. In our community, unemployment or underemployment, sickness, and many other factors effect a family having enough money for food. Often our clients have to choose between paying the rent, or keeping their lights on, or buying food.  A food pantry like the Jonnycake Center food pantry can make the difference between neighbors eating or not eating. For more information about food insecurity, please follow the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_security



How is the Center funded?


The Jonnycake Center receives funds from a variety of sources. We receive grants from the Federal Government, the State of Rhode Island, the Town of Westerly, numerous corporate and family foundations, and many individuals. We are able to pay our overhead expenses from sales in our thrift store. That way, a donation to the Center goes directly back out to local residents in need of assistance.