Since 1867, the Little Red Schoolhouse has been part of North Kingstown’s history. Many town residents have fond memories of their days as students in the Davisville building. Although its long service as a schoolhouse came to an end in 2011, the “Little Red Schoolhouse That Could” came back to life in 2013 as the North Kingstown Food Pantry. In 2012 Bonnie Smith and other community members recognized that food insecurity in North Kingstown was outgrowing the capacity of the Pantry’s home in the North Kingstown Methodist Church where it had been located since 1981. Karla Driscoll, newly retired from the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce and aware of the Pantry’s limited space, suggested to Bonnie that they form a committee of community leaders to address the problem.
The Committee, comprised of members of the local business, professional, and political community, set about resurrecting the original paperwork for the Pantry, establishing a new board, and writing new bylaws. They also began the search for free or low-cost space around town. The historic Little Red Schoolhouse, a Town building unoccupied and in need of major repair, seemed like a possible option because its central location would make it accessible to the majority of the Pantry’s clients.
Discussions with the Town Council led ultimately to the Town leasing the Little Red Schoolhouse to the Pantry for five years at $1 per year, after the Committee was able to demonstrate its capital campaign had secured adequate funding to make the building ADA and fire code compliant. A team of volunteers led by Pantry Vice President, Richard Jacques, found local contractors and skilled craftspeople who could complete the extensive renovations which included a new septic system, complete electrical upgrades, and a new heating system. These contractors generously donated their services or made equivalent cash donations to the Pantry for the many repairs and replacements. The North Kingstown Fire Department did all the interior painting. Volunteers also spent countless hours cleaning out and hauling almost 150 years of accumulated clutter and debris.
Today, the Little Red Schoolhouse, home to the North Kingstown Food Pantry, continues to serve the North Kingstown community and is part of the Town’s Emergency Management Plan. Operated with the help of a large crew of dedicated volunteers, the Pantry welcomes North Kingstown residents in need of food.
Monday through Friday
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Last Tuesday of the Month
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Last Saturday of the Month
10:00 AM to Noon
The North Kingstown Food Pantry is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation.