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Ocean State Job Lot Announces Philanthropic Efforts Totalled $25M in 2020

Financial and product donations reach 142 communities in the Northeast.

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North Kingstown, RI – (March 3, 2021) – Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL) is pleased to announce that in 2020, the retail chain supported the 142 communities in which it has stores with $25 million in financial and product donations.

The contributions were made in support of OSJL’s eight primary areas of focus, including feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, assisting veterans and military families, aiding animal rescue, caring for children, advancing healthcare, supporting the arts and promoting learning, as well as new programs specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representatives from One Love Dog Rescue in Smithtown, NY join associates at the Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL) store in Centereach, NY to accept the organization’s ‘Close to Our Heart’ donation in October, 2020. (Photo provided)

“There’s nothing to be said about 2020 that hasn’t been said before, but as a company, we were very fortunate that our strengths in sourcing products and purchasing them at deep discounts allowed us to support our communities,” said David Sarlitto, Executive Director, Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation. “We are incredibly proud of our ability to partner with our customers and maximize our resources to provide aid – whether it be PPE or food or anything in between – to those who have needed it the most throughout the year.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OSJL Charitable Foundation has actively invested in providing relief to the communities in which it operates, beginning with a $250,000 donation to a fund dedicated to acquiring critical supplies that first responders and healthcare workers needed in the fight against COVID-19. OSJL was able to leverage its unique buying power to quickly and affordably source items such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, sanitizers, eye protection, and more from its vendors, which had become scarce.

The company’s partnership with its customers continued throughout the year, resulting in the distribution of $15 million in PPE to school systems, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and police and fire departments across New England and the Northeast.

David Sarlitto, Executive Director of the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation, and Family Service of Rhode Island staff member Dave Cooley, pose in front of a portion of OSJL’s PPE/food donation to FSRI. (Photo provided)

OSJL also launched a “Mask Fabric For Free” campaign, which upon completion supplied customers with the fabric necessary to create an estimated 1.8 million homemade cloth face masks.

The company also distributed premium massage chairs, valued at nearly $7,000 each, to hospitals throughout the Northeast to provide a respite for healthcare workers.

RI Free Clinic staff members pose with representatives from Ocean State Community Wellness after receiving their massage chair donation. – Marie Ghazal, Chief Executive Officer, RI Free Clinic; Kevin Brochu, Executive Director, Ocean State Community Wellness; Samuel Lawrence, Project Assistance RI Free Clinic; Tori Gilbert, Operations Manager, Ocean State Community Wellness. (Photo provided)

In addition, it continued the Foundation’s “Three Square Meals” hunger relief program, the single largest food assistance program of its kind in the Northeast.

In 2020, this program saw the advent of “drive-thru” food distribution events; OSJL teamed up with local partners, including the PawSox and Lifespan in Rhode Island, to distribute high-quality foods, including fresh milk, eggs, and yogurt, in addition to non-perishable goods.

Chef Ed Bolus of Mill’s Tavern drops off food to LifeSpan employees at Rhode Island Hospital as part of the “Meals with a Mission” campaign undertaken by Encore Hospitality, which is owned and operated by Ocean State Job Lot, in May, 2020. (Photo provided)

“Three Square Meals” typically accounts for more than 8 million pounds of food and 11 million meals annually; in 2020, 14.5 million meals were donated to vulnerable individuals and families. OSJL also provided 20,000 restaurant cooked meals to frontline workers.

OSJL’s signature charitable efforts continued in 2020, including programs like “Close To Our Heart,” a store-driven community support program, in which funds are distributed by each store to a local organizations that are meaningful to that particular community, and the “Buy, Give, Get” program, which encourages customers to purchase a quality, brand-name men’s or women’s winter coat for $40.00 (retail value: $80.00-$120.00) and give it back to the store for donation to a veteran.

In appreciation of the donation, customers received a $40.00 Crazy Deal Gift Card to be used for a future purchase at Ocean State Job Lot, effectively allowing customers to donate winter coats for free. 42,000 coats were collected and distributed to veterans this winter.

Not included in the donation tally were OSJL’s annual special discount weeks for seniors, educators, first responders and veterans, which provide a 25% discount on most items for shoppers who can provide proper identification.

Members of the Derry, New Hampshire Police Department present the “Community Partnership Award” to the Derry OSJL Store Team Leader. – Left to right: Derry Police Sergeant Christopher Talbot and Lieutenant David Michaud; Derry Store Team Leader Christina Cook; and Officer Erin Sullivan. (Photo provided)

“Times like these reveal the strength and resolve of communities, and we’re honored to be able to support those who do the incredible work of serving the most vulnerable every day,” continued Sarlitto.