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About RICan

Our primary objective in breaking the cycle of poverty is to alleviate hunger and food insecurity. At the center of this effort is our food distribution facility in Charlestown, RI.


RICan believes you have the right to choose what to eat and that's why our supermarket-styled food pantry lets guests choose items for themselves. We invite you to tour our facility to learn more about our work.

RICan invites the public to learn about the problem of poverty in our state and become involved in the ways we work with our communities to help neighbors in crisis


Volunteer Power

RICAN runs off the power of over
100 volunteers.

We are primarily volunteer-driven, so you know that more of your donations go towards helping those in need!


Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is defined as: the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

In the United States 11.7% of households are food insecure and 4.8% report very low food security.

In Rhode Island 11% of households (47,700 people) are food insecure currently. Only 4.7% of households (20,400 people) reported very low or no food insecurity at all. 12.9% poverty rate, meaning 131,393 people are living in poverty. There is a 16.6% poverty rate for children under the age of 18, meaning 34,000 children are currently living in poverty.

Board of directors


Bethany Foster 


Bob Hartman

Vice President

Cleo Andersen-Tarnell


Kathy Tarasuk

  • Paul Demty

  • Dennis Dubee

  • Lorie Dubee

  • Wendy Gencarelli

  • Michael Morey

  • Ken Pelletier

  • Noreen Piazza

  • Steve White

Our History

Established in 2001 to provide food for the hungry, the Rhode Island Center Assisting Those In Need has expanded over the years to address other poverty issues, including providing assistance with emergency clothing and furniture.

At the heart of this effort is our Food Rescue Program in collaboration with Walmart. Since piloting the Food Rescue Program with a seed grant in 2011 (and a program/capital investment grant in 2013) from the Walmart Foundation, we have expanded this hunger relief effort and are now rescuing surplus foods daily from three Supercenter stores (Westerly, North Kingstown and Coventry). Gleaning food from stores not only helps us diversify offerings, it also reduces our overhead purchasing costs.

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.


Pounds of donated food that RICan has rescued through the program to date.

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