With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center is in need of donations for the growing number of baskets they provide to families in need.
Alyson Novick, of the MLK Center, said collections are down this year despite the fact that they are providing more baskets than years past. They will provide baskets for about 190 families.
Novick said the pantry especially needs canned sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce and $10, $15 or $20 gift cards to local supermarkets. Once the pantry exhausts its supply of turkeys, families are given gift cards to purchase them.
Distribution will run from Nov. 19 -21. The pantry will also provide for Christmas from Dec. 19-21.
“We understand that our community is giving so generously to those affected by Hurricane Sandy but hope some still have the resources to help the MLK help local families, too,” Novick said.
Cindy Elder, Director of Communications for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, said when a natural disaster and the holiday season overlap, people “can only stretch themselves so much.”
“Food donations in recent years have gone down,” she said, attributing the trend not to individual giving but from the grocery industry. Less errors resulting in grocery surplus is one of the main causes, she explained.
Elder said that although it is "important and good" that so many people are donating to storm victims, the reality that Rhode Islanders’ needs persist does not change.
“For a lot of people, the disaster is the daily basis of trying to feed a family.”
Elder suggested people interested in helping both storm victims and local families during the holiday season consider donating food to their local food bank and making a financial contribution to storm victims.
It is important not to forget about the increasing need for food year-round in local communities that does not go away, she said.