The West Coast’s Food Bank on the Edge Society is closing its ‘Free Store’ and asking the community to halt all donations of clothing or household items.
The society operates the ‘Free Store’ alongside their food distribution efforts, but social distancing requirements brought on by the coronavirus pandemic means the store’s wares cannot be browsed and the space is needed for food storage heading into the fall, according to the society’s executive director Cris Martin.
“We are liquidating the free store effective immediately. We’re going to use that space for food storage going into the fall and winter,” Martin told the Westerly News. “We just cannot have clients in the food bank building with the volunteers at all. There’s no reason to have a free store if we’re not going to allow people in the building,” she said. “This is an effort to protect our volunteers, we’re all vulnerable individuals, and it’s also to protect our clients as well.”
She added that the community’s generosity has never waned during the pandemic and she’s confident the Free Store will open again, hopefully when the society has a larger facility.
“In the future we know that, at any moment, when we can take donations and open the Free Store again, all we have to do is give the word and the donations will come pouring in because we’ve been getting endless donations this whole time,” she said. “We have to put a halt to it unfortunately, but we know that sometime in the future, our Free Store will be back.”
The society is still accepting non-perishable food items and cash donations and anyone willing and able to support the food bank’s efforts in encouraged to reach out at
“The community has been so gracious to us and continues to be and we really do appreciate it,” Martin said.