Our History

The Jonnycake Center of Westerly started in 1975 in the village of Bradford, Rhode Island and helped many thousands of local residents over its years in its original location.  In 2007, we moved to the North End of Westerly and officially changed our named from Bradford Jonnycake Center to the Jonnycake Center of Westerly. The relocation and expansion from a 2,300 square foot building on three floors to a single level at over 8,000 square feet has allowed us to grow our existing services and expand our mission in the area of educational programs for our clients.


In March, 2010, our 18-month old Social Services Department was decimated by four feet of floodwater which destroyed tens of thousands of dollars in diapers, baby food, computers, office equipment and furniture.  Thousands of client files were ruined.  The water missed coming in to our food pantry by mere inches, but we lost all our refrigerated food due to the lack of electricity.  While we cleaned up and dried out, we reached out to help neighbors in dire need.  We served as the hub for our community in recovery, assisting hundreds who had lost so much.  And the Town came together—as it always does—and gave. And gave some more.  Local filmmaker Chris Walsh chronicled the regional disaster in his documentary Hometown Flood, with proceeds benefiting the Flood Relief Fund at the Center. The Jonnycake Center of Westerly—and the community—recovered, and grew stronger.


This past year has been challenging for the Center as the number of people asking for food and financial assistance continues to grow.  On average we are providing food assistance to 150 people more each month than a year ago – and it comes at a time when some folks who had been donors are now seeking assistance, and as corporate donations and federal allocations have decreased.  Somehow, with the help of a generous community, there is always enough food to serve all who come to us – even as food seems to fly off the shelves.


The Jonnycake Center of Westerly networks with other agencies throughout the state to provide comprehensive services to our clients.  Other cooperating agencies include Wood River Health Services, United Way of Rhode Island, South County Community Action, South Shore Mental Health, The Visiting Nurses Association, The W.A.R.M. Center, and many area churches. The Jonnycake Center of Westerly is also a member of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the Washington County Coalition for Children, The Westerly Basic Needs Network, and the Long Term Recovery Group of South County (and Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck).

Throughout the years, our local communities in Charlestown, Hopkinton, Richmond and Westerly have supported us on our mission to help those of our neighbors in need.  We have enjoyed the support of the business community and many local foundations and organizations.


In particular, we’d like to thank the Kimball Foundation, the Champlin Foundation, The Lattner Family Foundation, The Forrest and Frances Lattner Foundation, Citizens Bank Charitable Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation, Ocean State Charities Trust, Episcopal Charities of Rhode Island, The Washington Trust Company, Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children, and Newport Federal Savings Bank for their generous support of our work.

The mission of the Jonnycake Center of Westerly is to provide a continuum of services in cooperation with other agencies in our service area to assist people through crisis situations & work with each individual to find a path out of dependency toward self-sufficiency.

Come visit us!