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Welcome House and Jonnycake Center to Host Empty Bowl Stroll Event

South Kingstown, RI – The Welcome House of South County and Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale are partnering with Wakefield Village restaurants to raise awareness and generate funding in support of local efforts to ameliorate hunger and homelessness. 

On Thursday, June 21st, the first night of the Saugatucket RiverFire season, the two organizations will host the Empty Bowl Stroll in downtown Wakefield from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend the event, which offers the music of Becky Chace on the Contemporary Theater Company patio, foods from seven Main Street restaurants and a hat parade by elementary school children. Tickets are $5.00 each, which includes samples of local fare foods from Auntie’s Kitchen, Brickley’s Ice Cream, El Fuego, Mary Murphy’s, Phil’s Main Street Grill, Pier Pizza, and Smoothy Booty.

“Many people are unaware of acute hunger and homelessness in South County,” said Allison Martinez, director of the Welcome House, a local organization for the homeless that operates a 17-bed shelter, emergency winter shelter as well as transitional and permanent housing for individuals and families. “Our area’s limited affordable housing is leaving more and more neighbors, many of whom work in low-wage jobs, struggling with basic needs like food and shelter,” continued Martinez.

Together, the organizations provide hundreds of thousands of pounds of food through the soup kitchen and food pantry. Last year, the Welcome House served nearly 18,000 meals to shelter guests and community members, while the Jonnycake Center distributed more than 280,000 pounds of food to 2,000 local children, low-wage workers and seniors.

In addition to reducing food insecurity, both organizations work to end the root causes of hunger and homelessness, including connecting underemployed and underinsured individuals with resources such as education, health care and transportation. The organizations also provide basic needs that can improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities, addiction and trauma.

“As government funding continues to decline, we are counting on the generosity of our community to keep us going,” said Kate Brewster, executive director of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale. “We hope to continue to bring to light the reality that poverty exists in our community and to expand our partnerships with individuals, civic organizations and businesses to meet the need,” continued Brewster.

Sponsors of the Empty Bowl Stroll event include: BankRI, Blue Cross Blue Shield RI, Delta Dental RI, Engineered Security Systems, IGT, South Kingstown Education Foundation, Wakefield Mall Associates, Washington Trust, and Westerly Community Credit Union.

Welcome House of South County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping end homelessness in Washington County since 1987. The organization’s programs include emergency shelter, community soup kitchen, supportive transitional and permanent affordable housing and advocacy for neighbors in need. Its efforts are made possible by the generosity of our community, through volunteer assistance, individual donations, foundation grants, government subsidies, corporate sponsorships and fundraising events. For more information, visit: www.welcomehouseofsouthcounty.org

The mission of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale is to provide basic needs, resources, and hope to local community members. For more information, visit: www.jonnycakecenter.org

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