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FOOD & DINING NEWSLETTER

A few standout restaurants and food businesses in R.I. giving back

Beyond Giving Tuesday, chefs and owners are finding new ways to pay it forward

Sean Kontos serves as Program Director of Harvest Kitchen, a culinary job training program for Rhode Island teenagers in foster care or the juvenile detention system. The food they make is available for in-person dinning and take-out at their Pawtucket location.Ryan T. Conaty/Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Gl

Too many Rhode Islanders are going hungry this year.

In fact, 38 percent of households with children say they are experiencing food insecurity, according to a new report released last week from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

Many in the food and restaurant industry are experiencing struggles of their own — including keeping their businesses afloat as food prices and inflation continue to soar. Despite this, chefs and owners are finding new ways to give back. Here are a few standing out this holiday season.

Nourish Our Neighbors, Hope & Main, Providence and Warren: Food incubator Hope & Main’s “Nourish Our Neighbors” program provides meals prepared by local food businesses to food insecure Rhode Islanders. Each week, the nonprofit distributes hundreds of meals with no ID or registration required. Here’s how it works: When you purchase a “Buy one/ Give one” single-serving meal for yourself, another is automatically donated to a neighbor. This program has delivered 63,000 meals, generating over $500,000 for emerging entrepreneurs. More info here. Purchase meals at Hope & Main’s Downtown Makers Marketplace in Providence or at their headquarters at 691 Main St. in Warren.

A Nourish Our Neighbors plate from Hope & Main in Warren, R.I.Shelby Doggett

Pizza Marvin, Providence: Jesse Hedberg and Robert Andreozzi are hosting their annual “12 Pies of Christmas” collaboration starting Dec. 6 for two weeks. They’ll be teaming up with 12 other Rhode Island restaurants — which include Oberlin and Gift Horse; Dolores; There, There; Pickerel; Bywater; Nimki; the Sly Fox Den Too; O’Dinis; and more —that will cook a special pizza for one night only, and all of the proceeds from the special $35 pies will benefit Sojourner House, a nonprofit that provides services and shelter to victims of abuse. 468 Wickenden St., Providence, 401-262-3336, pizzamarvin.com.

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Pizza Marvin co-owners Jesse Hedberg (left) and Robert Andreozzi pose in front of Pizza Marvin on Wickenden Street in Providence, Rhode Island.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Harvest Kitchen, Pawtucket: A job training program for youth involved in the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families, Harvest Kitchen creates jarred products and has a café with fresh foods. Each purchase at the café supports their culinary training program for underserved teens. 2 Bayley St., Pawtucket, 401-335-3766.

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Giusto, Newport: Through Dec. 23, for every full-sized lasagna purchased at Giusto (which feeds six to eight people), the restaurant will donate one to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Newport. Lasagnas are $75 each, and they have both meat and vegetarian options available. They are ready to bake, and each one includes heating instructions. Place your order by calling 24 hours before you want to pick it up. 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport, 401-423-7400, giustonewport.com.

Lasagna from Giusto in Newport, R.I.Kevin O'Donnell

Newport Restaurant Group, various locations: Through the holiday season, Newport Restaurant Group is running its annual gift card promotion. The group will donate $2 from every gift card order to nonprofits focused on fighting food insecurity, including the R.I. Community Food Bank, Hope’s Harvest R.I., the MLK Center, and the Aquidneck Community Table. The group is running the same program in its Massachusetts-based restaurants, too, where they will be providing the same deal to the Brookline Food Pantry and The Food Project. Order gift cards online or at one of their locations.

Co-founders Jennifer Capracotta, left, and Jennifer Fantozzi strategize their next food distribution menu with Blackies owner and executive chef Angie Armenise, center.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Plates with Purpose: In 2020, Jennifer Capracotta and Jennifer Fantozzi saw a friend struggle with the impact COVID-19 had on their new restaurant. The two decided to make a donation to give the restaurant a boost, but asked that a portion of funds also be used to help feed food-insecure families in the area. That sparked their idea for Plates with Purpose, an organization designed to help address food insecurity while helping independent restaurants. They’ve provided nearly 7,000 plates to schools and to Rhode Island families in need. Businesses can “sponsor” the nonprofit, and individuals can donate to them on their landing page. They’ve also been selected as a participating charity by Stop & Shop as part of their “Giving Tag” program (which directs a $1 donation to a nonprofit of your choice). Read more about them here.

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This story first appeared in Globe Rhode Island’s Food & Dining newsletter, a free weekly email about Rhode Island’s restaurant industry that also contains information about local events, Q&As with chefs, dining guides, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail each Thursday, you can sign up here.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.