$30K Bequest Boosts ‘Helping Neighbors’

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Hunger

Volunteer "elves" pitch in at the Family Pantry's 30th annual Toy Day Sunday.  DEBRA DeCOSTA PHOTO

Benefits The Family Pantry Of Cape Cod

Donations of every size, large and small, enable The Chronicle’s Helping Neighbors campaign to provide important support for the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. But sometimes, an individual’s generosity is worth highlighting.

Helping Neighbors is the recipient of a $30,000 bequest from the estate of Robert Ferdinand Spohn, a college professor, art collector and Yarmouthport resident who died last year and remembered the Family Pantry of Cape Cod in his will.

“Mr. Spohn clearly understood the hunger problem on Cape Cod,” Family Pantry Executive Director Christine Menard said. “We are so incredibly grateful for his generosity.”

In making a bequest through Helping Neighbors, Mr. Spohn’s estate hopes to inspire others to give, she said.

Described as having a “larger than life” personality, Mr. Spohn was a popular professor at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, where he taught business for more than 30 years. Before that, he was a junior executive with Exxon and AT&T. As a young man, Mr. Spohn studied economics at Colgate University while selling hamburgers from a vending cart at sporting events to help pay his college expenses.

An accomplished author, Mr. Spohn was also an avid golfer, baseball fan and collector of antiques, but was a particularly passionate collector of early 20th century works from Cape Cod artists. He donated much of this collection to the Cape Cod Museum of Art, where he was a docent.

Mr. Spohn’s gift to the Family Pantry will provide the equivalent of 120,000 nutritious meals, and comes at a time when requests for assistance are up, Menard said.

“Families across the Cape will benefit from his kindness,” she said.

Legacy giving is an excellent way to support the Pantry, Menard added.

“We receive two to three bequests a year,” she said. “This is a wonderful way to help, and the Pantry is always willing to sit down to discuss how we can be included in their estate planning.”

Last weekend was a busy one for the Family Pantry. Scores of families came to take part in the annual toy distribution, with cheery volunteers playing the part of elves.

To make your contribution through the Helping Neighbors campaign, click here, or send a tax-deductible donation to The Family Pantry, 133 Queen Anne Rd., Harwich, MA 02645 (please write “Helping Neighbors ” in the memo line). Donors can also text “Hunger” to 80100 to give $20, or text “Pantry” to 80100 to give $10. To learn about other ways to help, or to find out how to receive assistance, call 508 432-6519 or visit www.TheFamilyPantry.com.