Progreso Latino

Frequently Asked Questions about our Food Pantry

The mission of the Central Falls Food Pantry is to eliminate hunger in our community by:
  • providing food to fill the basic need of hungry people
  • increasing the independence of our clients through self-help initiatives and other innovative programs
  • raising awareness of hunger and poverty and working towards solutions to eliminate them.

Click on each tab below for Frequently Asked Questions.

How did the pantry get started?

On July 31, 2011, the City of Central Falls filed for bankruptcy and as a result the Food Pantry located at the Ralph J. Holden Community Center closed. The next day, a committee to form the Central Falls Food Pantry @Progreso Latino was established by staff of Progreso Latino and the former coordinator of the food pantry. City and State elected officials representation was added, and the committee underwent several weeks of groundwork. The pantry moved into Progreso Latino in late August and reopened its doors in October 2011.

Who can visit the Food Pantry?

We welcome any Central Falls resident (or any non-Central Falls resident referred by the RI Community Food Bank hotline) who is among those struggling in this difficult economy to put food on the table. We are aware that it takes courage and humility to ask for help, and we applaud anyone who takes that step. One of the goals of the pantry is to not only to send client families home with an emergency supply of non-perishable food, but also to make the experience of going to a pantry a less difficult one. Treating our clients with kindness and compassion is important at the Central Falls Food Pantry @Progreso Latino. We are located on Broad Street in Central Falls, behind the (former) Notre Dame Church. Look for Progreso Latino signs. In case of inclement winter weather, call the pantry first about our status. Telephone: 401-728-5920. Please note that the Central Falls Food Pantry @Progreso Latino cannot deliver food or provide transportation.

Are young people welcome at the Food Pantry?

Teenagers who are in need of food are welcome. Please call and speak with the pantry coordinator to make an appointment.

Who runs the food pantry?

The pantry is currently run by Vernia Carter, who staffs the pantry on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She can be reached by calling our main number: (401) 728-5920 at Ext. 324.

How can I get food assistance?

We recommend that you call Progreso Latino for an appointment to receive food at least 24 hours in advance. However, no one will be turned away and clients can come to the pantry on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays (please check our schedule for date changes due to holidays) between the hours of 1:30 am and 3:30 p.m. Due to USDA regulations, you will be asked for social security numbers for each member of the family, a form of identification (license), proof of residency in the form of a utility bill and proof of income. Once all your paperwork has been filled out, you can return each month or whenever needed without doing additional paperwork.

Where does the food come from?

Central Falls is a community that has a history of taking care of its own during difficult times, and we are blessed with people who truly care and want to help. Food is primarily provided by the RI Community Food Bank, however food can also be provided through food drives at schools, businesses and organizations; monetary donations from the community; and from the generous Friends of the Central Falls Food Pantry @Progreso Latino, who receive an email update each month of the “most needed” items, shop for those items, and drop them off at our agency.

How can I help?

Currently, the best way is to sign up as a Friend of the Central Falls Food Pantry @Progreso Latino. You will receive a newsletter each month updating you on the “happenings” at the pantry and also listing the “most needed” items for the next pantry opening. All donated items can be dropped off any time at Progreso Latino.

Where can I drop off food?

For small donations, there are collection boxes located in the reception area of Progreso Latino. For large donations, you can call us to schedule a pick-up. We normally pick up food on Thursdays, but schedule may change based on availability of driver. The pantry is located at Progreso Latino, 626 Broad Street, Central Falls, RI 02863, 2nd Floor.

What about monetary donations?

Monetary donations are always welcome. We are a non-profit organization so your donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to Progreso Latino and mailed to: Progreso Latino, 626 Broad St. Central Falls, RI 02863. Please write “food pantry” at the bottom of your check and be sure to include full name and address of the person making the donation, if it is not on the check.
We also accept online donations. For this option
click here »

  • Progreso Latino is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization and all monetary donations are tax deductible.

How can young people help?

We do want to encourage our youth to get involved in collecting food for the pantry through schools, churches and youth groups (with adult supervision). We discourage informal door-to-door food drives.
You can get involved in our Annual Winter Community Food drive by forming student teams through your school.
Click here for more information>>

How can I organize a food drive?

There are endless creative ways to collect food, and the amount collected does not matter. Every little bit helps.
  • We’ve had several children request non-perishable items at birthday parties in lieu of gifts, and many adults celebrating milestone birthdays are doing the same.
  • Senator Elizabeth (Betty) Crowley organizes the Annual Soup For Supper event in late February, where she not only collects food, but also raises money to purchase the most needed items, delivers them to the pantry and stocks them on the shelves – this is a great example of involvement by a local elected official.
  • Groups may organize holiday and family parties and asked guests to bring food for the pantry in lieu of a hostess gift or gift swaps. Church groups, teen groups or “at-home moms” may collect much-needed diapers, infant formula or baby food and donate it to the food pantry. All of these efforts help us tremendously, and those contributing feel good about it.
  • The Annual Winter Community Food Drive in cooperation with the César Chávez Scholarship Fund is held once a year. The drive includes a kick-off event on Martin Luther King’s birthday in January, and culminates on March 31st, the birthday of César E. Chávez. This event has inspired young people to get involved with serve & learn projects by collecting food for the food pantry, and also raising money for scholarships for local high school students. For more information about this program, visit:

What kinds of food items do you need?

It varies each month, depending on how many food drives have been organized, but the non-perishable basics are always welcome. They include baby diapers (all sizes) & adult diapers (Depends) – baby food & infant formula – canned vegetables – canned fruit – canned meat – jelly/jam – peanut butter – pasta sauce – rice & pasta – sugar/brown sugar – shampoo/soap – coffee/tea – 100% fruit juice/juice boxes – soups – snacks – vegetable oil – flour – cake/brownie mix – cereal – pancake mix – syrup – tuna – oatmeal (regular or instant) – baked beans – canned pastas – macaroni and cheese – tomatoes and tomato paste – Jell-O and puddings – paper products. To receive an email update each month of the “most needed” items, please sign up for our mailing list.
  • Progreso Latino is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization and all monetary donations are tax deductible.

Are food donations tax deductible?

Donations provided to the Central Falls Food Pantry @Progreso Latino are deductible. Keep receipts of the items you donated. If the amount is less than $500, you report it on schedule A line 17. If it is over $500 you have to file form 8283.
Progreso Latino will also be happy to provide donors with a letter specifying a date and approximate dollar amount of the food value when donations are made. If you have a receipt, please bring that with you.
Cash donations are always deductible and will be acknowledged with a letter. Be sure to provide full name and mailing address of the donor when checks are mailed.
  • Progreso Latino is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization and all monetary donations are tax deductible.

For addition questions, contact Vernia Carter at or call Ext. 324.