In Largest Private Food Donation Ever, Job Lot Dispatches 78-Truck Convoy to Area Food Banks

The 111-store Rhode Island-based discount chain, with help from its customers and private supporters, is donating $1.4 million worth of food to 13 food banks.

A massive convoy of 15 tractor trailers streamed out of Quonset Tuesday morning, loaded to the gills with food.

The back of each truck carried Ocean State Job Lot's trademark slogan, "The END of High Prices," but based on the overwhelming delivery of food that will be distributed to area food banks, the motto could be changed to "The END of Hunger."

At least, that's what the company seems to be trying to accomplish with its "Three Square Meals" program to alleviate the food crisis throughout the Northeast.

A total of 78 tractor trailers will make their way to 13 food banks and pantries in six New England States, including the Rhode Island Food Bank.

It's the largest single food donation of its kind by a private company in New England and that's the point, said Job Lot Owner Alan Perlman.

"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," he said. 

Along with the departure of the first of several convoys of tractor trailers Tuesday morning, Job Lot announced a partnership with the New England Patriots Alumni Club and the University of Rhode Island's SNAP-Ed program, Scotts, Burpee Seeds and culinary institutions to "tackle food insecurity in the region from supporting neighborhood gardens to providing nutrition education in the community," a release stated.

The enormous donation comes through small, $1 donations that customers were invited to make at Job Lot cash registers through Dec. 31 of last year. 

Job Lot matched the first $100,000 made by shoppers. In the end, a total of $1.4 million was raised - enough to fill 78 semi trucks.

Job Lot leveraged its wholesale buying power to add even more value to the donation.

Donated items will include shelf-stable food like pasta, cereal, canned vegetables, fruit, soup, tuna, beans, rice and more.

On top of that, for the first time in the 11-year run of the Three Square Meals Program, private companies are sponsoring their own truckloads of food. They include Bank of America, the Providence Journal Charitable Fund, Polar Beverages and Bob's Red Mill.

Job Lot's efforts haven't gone unnoticed and not just because the tractor trailers heading north on Route 4 and Interstate 95 required a State Police convoy and slowed traffic for miles. 

"[Their] compassionate support has made a real and lasting difference in the lives of so many New Englanders," said Maura Daly, chief communication and development officer for Feeding America. 

Thanks to the donation, area food banks will be able to provide millions of meals to the 1 in 6 Americans who need help getting enough to eat.

Mark Schieldrop March 26, 2014 at 08:07 AM
I was under the impression that the food is all new and freshly bought. The supply is from their normal chain, not a special purchase or separate lot that they isolated for the donations.
Dave Layman March 26, 2014 at 10:17 AM
At a time when most corporations are focused internally, this says so much about a Rhode Island company that is dedicated to helping the hungry who face this problem regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. Quietly, and throughout the year, Job Lot does so much for the community without asking anything in return. They lead by quiet, good example. They make Rhode Island and the Northeast proud.
Alicarn March 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM
I'm very happy to spend my hard earned money at OSJL. A great local company that gives back to it's neighbors.
Bruce Zarembka March 26, 2014 at 02:39 PM
In regard to the comment about dating. This is all first run product. Additionally, and what most people don't know, there are no official USDA or FDA regulations based around product codes or dating. Product dates are something that was started by the food industry processors and manufacturers. Most dates on non-perishable product is a "best if used by" date. This is the manufacturers date which they feel the product is at its optimum level. The product is not "bad" per that date. The dating serves manufacturers in two ways...what they consider to be optimum...but more so, it benefits them in that most people take these dates as gosple and discard the product...guess what...the consumer now purchases more of their product. With perishable product it will generally carry a "sell by" date which means it has to be pulled...using milk as an example, if today is the sell date and one handles the product properly, the milk has a shelf life of 7--10 days following the "sell by" date. Billions of pounds of food are thrown away in this country each year, due to the misnomer that surrounds date codes.
Pam March 27, 2014 at 08:57 AM
Fun place to bargain hunt and a great neighbor! Thank you Job Lot!


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