Community Submitted Content
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.