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Outreach and Advocacy

The Hunger Center staff engage in a number of activities to help support local initiatives targeted at ending hunger. Staff at the Hunger Center develop materials and make presentations to local civic groups, social service agencies, and faith based communities to assist them in learning more about the issue of hunger in their community.


Higher Education Day

Students, administrators, and faculty from colleges throughout Rhode Island gathered at the State House in Providence on April 7th, 2011 to celebrate Higher Education Day. 

The University of Rhode Island was represented through various booths ranging from the Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy to the Theatre Program. Among them, the Hunger Center set up shop to educate passers-by on the SNAP Program and the importance of student involvement.

"Most people are used to hearing 'Food Stamps' so there were a lot of questions about what SNAP is," said student worker Sarah Ventimiglia, "so it was important for us to be there to educate people on the new and improved program."

Alongside Sarah were fellow student and SNAP Outreach worker Kristen Mercier, Hunger Center Director and Professor, Dr. Kathleen Gorman, and SNAP Outreach Coordinator Maria Cimini.

Visitors to the booth, who ranged from state representatives and alumni to curious workers from neighboring booths, received informational SNAP flyers and grocery lists as well as SNAP change purses.

This day was a chance to not only celebrate higher education and its benefits to individuals and the state, but also to show how the University of Rhode Island is reaching out and helping people through programs like the Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America.


In addition, the staff at the Hunger Center monitor the impact of both state and federal policies on low-income Rhode Island families and make policy recommendations to elected officials at the state, regional and national level through the Center's involvement with the One RI coalition, the Northeast Regional Anti-Hunger Network and association with the Food Research Action Council.


The SNAP Outreach Project

SNAP Outreach Project helps low-income individuals and families throughout Rhode Island access benefits. The Outreach Project seeks to increase participation in SNAP through the distribution of educational materials, training of service providers and application assistance to clients.

Learn more about the SNAP Outreach Project or to access a benefits application at eatbettertoday.

Together with our Congressional delegation, the SNAP Outreach Project partnered with local business, Brigido's IGA Fresh Market, in North Scituate, RI, in April 2009 to highlight ARRA (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) funds to increase nutritional assistance to low-income Rhode Islanders.

An outreach worker distributes program materials at Brigido's IGA Fresh Market, in North Scituate, RI.


Regional and Statewide Advocacy

NERAHN - The Feinstein Hunger Center, along with the RI Community Food Bank, represents the state of RI at the Northeast Regional Anti-Hunger Network (NERAHN).  NERAHN serves as a coalition of anti-hunger agencies from the seven states that make-up the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Northeast region (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York). NEHRAN was created in 1966 with a two-fold mission:

    1. to reduce hunger by maximizing resources through collaborative efforts; and
    2. to work collectively to design and implement action on state, regional and national levels.

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - is a children's policy and advocacy organization that provides information on child well-being, stimulates dialogue on children's issues, and promotes accountability and action. Hunger Center staff serve on the advisory committee to the RI Kids Count Factbook, published annually.


Working with Local Communities

South County Hunger Task Force - is a joint initiative of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale and the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America. Started in 2007 after the first Community Conversation on Hunger, Hunger Task Force members have promoted several ongoing initiatives aimed at eliminating hunger in our community. For more information about the Hunger Task Force, contact: Professor Kathleen Gorman,

URI Feinstein Center, 874-9089  or

Susan Gustaitis, Jonnycake Center, 789-1559 x15

Click here for recent news on the South County Hunger Task Force!







Westerly Basic Needs Network - is a collaborative of South County social service providers, churches and non-profits that meet monthly to share resources, identify unmet needs and work toward ensuring food, shelter and health care for all individuals.


Have you heard about snap?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

Program is the new name for the Food Stamp Program.

Learn more about the SNAP Outreach Project or to access a benefits application:

What's new at the hunger center

The Restaurant Meals Program comes to Rhode Island

Now there is a way for homeless, elderly, and disabled SNAP recipients to buy hot, prepared meals. The Restaurant Meals Program uses the same SNAP benefits and EBT cards to allow certain low-income individuals to buy low-cost meals at participating locations. Eligible individuals are the homeless, elderly, and disabled who may not have access to food storage or preparation.

For more information about the Restaurant Meals Program, visit

For more information about the Restaurant Meals Program in RI, visit



SNAP Outreach Coordinator takes part in Food Stamp Challenge

University Students Respond to Hurricane Irene

Pres. Dooley mentions the Hunger Center in his most recent "Conversation with URI"

Kathleen Gorman speaks at Hungry for Answers conference

Reaching out to the Hispanic community