Demand at food pantries surge in RI; drive-ins scheduled to reopen

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s food pantries have seen a surge in demand because the coronavirus pandemic has put more than 100,000 state residents out of work, officials said.

Demand is up by about 30%, Andrew Schiff, CEO of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, told WJAR-TV and his organization is on track to deliver 50% more food than it normally would by the end of May.

“So many people lost work. Whatever savings they’ve had, they ran through that savings,” Schiff said. “They’ve run out of food and they’re coming to food pantries in higher numbers than we’ve seen all the way back since the Recession in 2008, 2009.”



Two Rhode Island drive-in movie theaters are scheduled to reopen Friday, but with some changes because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The owners of the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In in North Smithfield posted on Facebook that in order to comply with state social-distancing guidelines, every other parking space will be left empty, masks must be worn at all times when outside a vehicle, and concession stand orders can now be called in.

The Misquamicut Drive-in in Westerly is limiting attendance to 50 vehicles, about half its normal capacity.