About Us

This is who we are.

What We Do

The Rhode Island Center Assisting those in Need (RICan) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization providing emergency food , clothing, and other vital supports to neighbors in crisis throughout the state, primarily in Washington County and surrounding areas. Our mission is to provide, with dignity, emergency food and outreach to thousands of at-risk neighbors in southern Rhode Island and surrounding communities.

Established in 2001 to provide food for the hungry, our organization helped 25 families within its first few months. Over the years, we expanded our efforts to address other poverty issues, including providing assistance with clothing and furniture.


Our Work

The Our primary objective in breaking the cycle of poverty is to alleviate hunger and food insecurity. In addition to food donations from generous community members, we also participate in our Food Rescue Program in collaboration with Walmart.

Through this partnership, RICan retrieves, sorts and distributes wholesome surplus food items that would otherwise be discarded by the stores. This vital program further diversifies the offerings of our food assistance programs by offering fresh and frozen supplemental items not readily available for purchase from the RI Community Food Bank or through our main streams of donations. We have access to highly nutritious food items like meats, produce and dairy products that are so needed by our clients to ensure healthy diets for themselves and their families. RI Can has rescued over 800,000 pounds of donated food through the program to date. Given the success of RICan’s piloted endeavor, the Walmart Food Rescue Program is now a statewide effort, coordinated by the Food Bank, connecting neighborhood feeding programs with surplus food from local stores throughout Rhode Island.

Our Facility

The Rhode Island Center Assisting those in Need invites the public to learn about the problem of poverty in our state and the ways we work with the community to help neighbors in crisis. At the center of this effort is our facility at 805 Alton Carolina Road in Charlestown, RI. Our facility includes a supermarket-styled food pantry and a thrift store open to the public. We invite you to tour our facility to learn more about our work. Tours are available by appointment. For scheduling or more information, contact us at (401) 364-9412.


What Is Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity is defined as a limited access to adequate food due to a lack of money or other resources. In Rhode Island…

  • 12.4 percent of households (54,200) were food insecure in 2017
  • Only 5.6 percent of households (24,500) reported very low food insecurity levels
  • 120,590 people are struggling with hunger (and of them 35,760 are children), and 1 in 6 children struggle with hunger in Rhode Island
  • 29 percent of households receiving SNAP benefits have children



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