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RI Community Food Bank and the Citizens Bank Foundation team up to “Strike Out Hunger”

Program in partnership with Pawtucket Red Sox and Cox Communications will raise $75,000 for Food Bank during critical summer months

Providence, R.I.    (April 9, 2008) - The Rhode Island Community Food Bank and the Citizens Bank Foundation today announced a summer-long partnership with the Pawtucket Red Sox and Cox Communications to “Strike Out Hunger” across the state this summer.

Throughout the 2008 Pawtucket Red Sox Baseball Season, the Citizens Bank Foundation will donate $75 to the food bank for each strikeout recorded by a PawSox pitcher, up to $75,000. During home games, the Citizens’ donations will be announced so spectators will feel the excitement as more strikeouts lead to more donations to help feed our hungry neighbors during the summer months.

“Donations to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank during the summer are critically low and for many families, the need is higher at this time of year. Children who were receiving breakfast and/or lunch at school are home for the summer, placing additional stress on already tight household food budgets,” said Joseph J. MarcAurele, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island. “We encourage all Rhode Islanders to join us along with the Pawtucket Red Sox and Cox Communications to help Strike Out Hunger this season and make an important difference to families in need.” 

Additionally, the Pawtucket Red Sox will host four special food drives at McCoy Stadium during the season. At each of these games, the first 1,000 game patrons to donate two cans of tuna fish for the Food Bank will receive free admission. The games are Wednesday, May 7 at 6:15 pm; Wednesday, June 11 at 7pm; Sunday, July 20 at 1 pm; and Sunday, August 3 at 1 pm.

“The work of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank is an incredibly vital resource for thousands of Rhode Islanders,” said Lou Schwechheimer, Vice President & General Manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox. “The PawSox family is committed to the mission of ending hunger in our state and we hope this generous incentive encourages our fans to donate and support the food bank’s efforts.”

To help draw public interest, “Striking Out Hunger” will be promoted throughout the season with public service announcements on Cox Communications’ network of cable programmers and the Pawtucket Red Sox Radio Network. The opportunity to further educate the community on the problems of hunger by reaching out and offering a way for the public to help is a key component of this initiative.

“Supporting the communities in which we live and work is a core value of Cox Communications,” said Paul Cronin, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications.  “We are proud to provide a critical means to raising awareness about the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and their pioneering efforts to end hunger in our state, once and for all.”

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is feeding thousands of Rhode Islanders in need each month through a network of nearly 400 certified member agency programs. A recent USDA statistical study on food insecurity shows that more than 17 percent of Rhode Island’s children, one out of every six, suffer from food insecurity. Additionally, 11.3 percent of Rhode Island households, representing 48,000 families, do not know where their next meal will come from.

“This is a wonderful and innovative partnership for the food bank,” said Andrew Schiff, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “At a time when the need for food increases, it is great to know that we are supported by philanthropic organizations like Citizens, Cox and the Paw Sox, as well as the community.”

About the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is a nonprofit organization located in Providence, R.I. The food bank solicits, stores and distributes food products donated by supermarkets, wholesalers, food processors, local farmers and community food drives. The food is then distributed to the food bank’s network of more than 300 member agency programs. In the past fiscal year, the food bank distributed 8.4 million pounds of food. For more information about the food bank, please visit www.rifoodbank.org

About the Citizens Bank Foundation

Citizens Bank Foundation is a charitable contributions vehicle of Citizens Bank. The foundation’s support is focused on housing, community development and basic human needs.