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Ocean State Job Lot, the North Kingstown, R.I.-based discount retail chain, has unveiled this year’s “Three Square Meals” hunger relief program, designed to alleviate the food crisis in the Northeast.
The program is expected to distribute 78 tractor trailer loads of food throughout the year to 13 food banks and pantries in six New England states and New York, marking the largest single food donation of its kind by a private company in New England.
For the first time in the program’s 11-year history, private businesses such as Bank of America, The Providence Journal Charitable Fund, Polar Beverages and Bob’s Red Mill are each sponsoring a truckload of food to benefit the needy.
To further support the program, Job Lot customers were invited to donate $1 at the register through Dec. 31, 2013, and Job Lot matched the first $100,000. The combined donations and matching totaled more than $1.4 million.
Job Lot also purchases shelf-stable food item from its manufacturers at up to three times the retailer’s purchase price, and donates all purchasing logistics, administration, management, delivery labor and fuel ensuring 100 percent of donated funds are used to help alleviate hunger.
In late Spring, Job Lot will also team up with the New England Patriots Alumni Club to launch an initiative with URI’s SNAP-Ed program, culinary institutes, Scotts and Burpee Seeds to combat food insecurity in the region from supporting neighborhood gardens to providing nutrition education to the community.
“Our Three Square Meals event is intended to bring attention to and help alleviate the growing food crisis in our region,” said Alan Perlman, Ocean State Job Lot owner/partner. “We’re leading the fight against hunger, starting from the community garden level, to distributing nutritious food, to then teaching people how to create and eat healthy meals. Together with our customers and charitable partners…we can greatly impact each step along this food insecurity cycle.”
The Three Square Meals program kicked off on March 25 with the first delivery of food via convoy of 15 tractor trailer trucks loaded with 600,000 pounds of shelf-stable food. A public event was held in the Job Lot warehouse in North Kingstown.
Ocean State Job Lot operates 111 stores in New England and New York.