SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale is getting a new home and a new name.
The new home is at the former schoolhouse at 22 Kersey Road, not far from the center’s current location at the rotary where Kingstown Road and High Street meet.
The Jonnycake Center announced at its annual fundraiser, Breaking the Waves of Hunger, that it had purchased the building and intends to renovate it.
“We are excited to return this magnificent building, rich in history, back to the community,” Executive Director Kate Brewster said. “Most importantly, we are fortunate to be in a community that is extremely generous and believes in a shared responsibility for ensuring that everyone can meet their basic needs.”
The center also announced that over the next year it will transition to a new name - the Jonnycake Center for Hope.
Brewster said the current facilities are inadequate and inaccessible, and don’t meet the needs of visitors. “Over the past several years, we have taken a more holistic approach to fighting hunger through an expansion of services, which has resulted in the need for additional space. The current layout of our facilities, in which the food pantry is separate from the social service staff, can also be confusing and disconnected,” she said.
The new space will provide visitors with an enhanced, dignified experience, Brewster added.
“The Jonnycake Market will recreate a true grocery store experience,” she said. “Social service staff will be co-located with the market, allowing for regular interactions and timely assistance with visitors, including those with disabilities who currently cannot climb our stairs. Cooking classes, wellness initiatives, community meetings and tax assistance will be provided in an appropriate setting, and we will offer our partners much-needed space for other needs that may arise in our community.”
The organization will launch a capital campaign this fall to finance the project.
Breaking the Waves of Hunger generated almost $100,000 in revenue through ticket sales, a silent and live auction, and “live food drive” in which attendees pledge a donation, officials said. The center also announced that it will welcome three new board members this month, including Lou Giancola, retired president of South County Health, Roland Fiore, president of South County Sand and Gravel, and Jacqueline Tracy, founding partner of Mandel and Tracy, LLC.