Chronicle Readers Push To $1 Million For Family Pantry

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Hunger

Though providing nutritious food is its primary mission, the Family Pantry also provides clients with gently-used clothing. Last year, it distributed 33 tons of donated clothing, much of it for children. FILE PHOTO

Just before Thanksgiving in 2004, The Cape Cod Chronicle forged a partnership with the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. For years, we’d been reporting on the good work of the Family Pantry, the people who were making it happen, and the steadily increasing need. We called the campaign “Helping Neighbors.”

“As a small business, we knew we couldn’t just make a $100,000 donation on our own,” Publisher Henry Hyora said. “But we knew that, together with our readers, we could make a difference over time.” That first year, Helping Neighbors raised $11,265 for the Family Pantry.

“We didn’t even set a fundraising goal that year, because we had no idea how much money the campaign would raise,” Hyora said. “It was a solid start.”

Every holiday season, The Chronicle published stories about the Pantry and its innovative programs, and readers responded. Four years later, in 2008, the campaign set its goal at $40,000, and ended up raising $58,042. With that year’s tally, Helping Neighbors had raised more than $100,000 in four years. The campaign has now become a holiday tradition, reliably raising around $60,000 each season, helping the Family Pantry put food on local tables during the lean winter months.

“Everything changed in 2017,” Hyora said. A group of anonymous summer residents challenged The Chronicle to start a summertime Helping Neighbors campaign to leverage the considerable generosity of seasonal homeowners and vacationers. The donors offered a significant matching grant, and in the summer of 2017, the campaign raised nearly $150,000. “It was almost heart-stopping,” he said. “It was clear right away that we needed to continue giving summer residents an opportunity to help.” Last year’s summertime Helping Neighbors raised over $100,000, thanks in part to another generous matching grant.

Tallying the contributions back to 2004, Helping Neighbors has now raised more than $962,964.

While no big-ticket donor has yet stepped forward to match contributions for this summer’s campaign, Hyora is hopeful that, by Labor Day, Chronicle readers will push Helping Neighbors to a historic milestone.

“We’re looking forward to passing the $1 million mark,” he said. “That’s more than a number. It’s proof that, working together over time, we can all make a huge difference for our community.” Reaching that goal means raising about $29,000, a very attainable goal, Hyora said.

For 30 years, the Family Pantry has provided nutritious food, clothing and household items to people on all parts of the Cape. It provides Thanksgiving turkey dinners and holiday toys for families, and helps connect qualifying clients to fuel assistance and federal nutrition programs, as well as programs like homeless prevention counseling and health care. Last year, it provided $3.9 million worth of food, or 1.9 million meals.


Contribute to The Chronicle’s summertime Helping Neighbors campaign by sending a tax-deductible contribution to The Family Pantry, 133 Queen Anne Road, Harwich, MA 02645, writing “Helping Neighbors” in the memo line. Donors can also text the word “hunger” to 80100 to donate $20, or donate online by clicking here. The Chronicle will publish a list of donors each week.