Helping Hands food pantry opens Oct. 23

At Harbor Church
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 4:30pm
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Helping Hands of Block Island, the 501 (C)(3) non-profit that provides food to island residents in need, will be opening its food pantry in the basement of the Harbor Church on Wednesday Oct. 23 for the winter season. The food pantry operates from late October, through the winter, to the first week of May each year.

The Block Island Times spoke with Paige Gaffett, Vicky Butlevska and David Kane, who volunteer at the pantry, to learn more about the food pantry’s operation. Butlevska and Gaffett, who began as volunteers for the organization, decided to take over the operation this fall. They are the new co-presidents, while Kane serves as vice president.

“We want people to know it’s here, and it’s available,” said Gaffett. “We’re appealing to the public to come.” Gaffett said the group offers food items to people every other Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter, and requires completion of “a basic form” to receive food items.

“We have a lot of help, and we’re trying to help others,” said Butlevska of the nonprofit, which, they said, has been in operation at the church “for at least 15 years.” 

“We love our pantry, and all of the volunteers,” said Kane. He noted that Helping Hands provides items such as eggs, bread, fruit and vegetables, as well as Thanksgiving turkeys, and Christmas and Easter dinners. “We try to provide better food items than most food pantries.”

Kane said that due to the group’s purchase of a new refrigerator/freezer the organization can offer frozen food items this year. He said Helping Hands is trying to add yet another refrigerator/freezer to increase its food stock. He also said that Helping Hands “wants to reach out to the senior community on Block Island to invite them to come to the food pantry as well.” 

Gaffett, Butlevska, and Kane said the organization is looking for volunteers, and is grateful to the Block Island Ferry for allowing free passage to and from the mainland to shop for food items. Helping Hands receives discounted supplies from the Block Island Grocery store and the Belmont Market in Wakefield.

For more information, and/or to volunteer, contact Paige Gaffett at (401) 575-8810/paigegaffett@gmail.com or Vicky Butlevska at (401) 248-1622/vnb031@gmail.com. Donations to the Helping Hands food pantry can be sent to: Helping Hands of Block Island, Inc., P.O. Box 1066, Block Island, RI 02807.