A Year Of Generosity: Looking Back On 'Helping Neighbors' In 2018

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Hunger

Just before Thanksgiving, the Family Pantry provided groceries for a complete holiday meal to more than 360 families in just two hours. DEBRA DeCOSTA PHOTO

With the holidays behind us, we've closed the books on the Chronicle's 2018 Helping Neighbors campaign, and it was a resounding success.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Cape Cod Chronicle readers donated more than $40,000 to the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. While it fell short of its ambitious $60,000 goal, the holiday campaign nonetheless provided the Pantry with a financial boost at an important time.

“That’s 160,000 meals,” Executive Director Christine Menard said. “I think it was very successful, especially in the winter.”

“It’s a very positive, hopeful way to start 2019,” Chronicle Publisher Henry C. Hyora said. “As they do every year, our readers came together to support the Family Pantry, making a real difference for people in our community. I’m very proud of that,” he said.

The holiday campaign received $40,899 in contributions, and when combined with the more than $100,000 raised during last summer's campaign, Helping Neighbors raised a grand total of $142,331 last year.

According to year-end figures provided by the Family Pantry, the nonprofit provided 91,000 bags of groceries in 2018, representing nearly 1.9 million nutritious meals. Remarkably, nearly a quarter of that food was fresh, provided by the Greater Boston Food Bank or grown in the Pantry’s own garden.

“There’s a lot of people that we need to take care of,” Menard said. Uncertainty with the economy adds to the potential need, as does the partial government shutdown; should it continue through February or March, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as Food Stamps – will run out off money. In addition, next summer’s influx of seasonal workers will likely rely heavily on the Family Pantry, she said. Changes in the tax laws are also likely to hurt some local families, Menard added.

“All the more reason that Helping Neighbors is important,” she said. “The Cape Cod Chronicle and its readers support the Family Pantry 365 days a year, and need is there 365 days a year.”

This year’s Helping Neighbors campaign will begin in July. To contribute before then, visit www.TheFamilyPantry.com.