'Helping Neighbors' Returns For Summer 2020

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Hunger

Only volunteers are allowed inside the pantry, and they are temperature-screened before each shift and wear personal protective gear.  COURTESY PHOTO

Pandemic Means Huge Demand On Family Pantry

The pandemic, and the economic uncertainty it brings, has forced more and more people to turn to the Family Pantry of Cape Cod for help putting food on the table. And thanks to the community’s incredible generosity in the last three months, the Pantry has been able to meet that demand, adapting to a drive-through pantry model for COVID-19 safety and expanding its mobile pantry operation to reach people stuck at home.

“I’m worried about the fall,” Pantry Executive director Christine Menard said. If federal unemployment benefits aren’t extended, many local families will lose the $600 weekly payment that’s keeping them afloat while they’re out of work. It’s also not clear whether the SNAP, the federal nutrition program once known as Food Stamps, will be funded at the current level. And then there’s uncertainty about how the local economy will fare in the months ahead.

“It really is about the next three months,” Menard said. Come September or October, regardless of whether the virus returns, “we’re going to get our own surge,” she said.

Every summer, The Cape Cod Chronicle offers seasonal residents and visitors a chance to take part in our Helping Neighbors campaign to benefit the Family Pantry, supplementing the main Helping Neighbors campaign that takes place during the holidays. Last year’s summertime campaign raised just over $25,000 for the Family Pantry, and our goal this summer is $30,000.

“We don’t need statistics to know that this is a critical time for the local economy. We’re hearing it from our neighbors,” Cape Cod Chronicle Publisher Henry C. Hyora said. “This fundraiser is a chance for our readers — particularly summer residents and visitors — to do their part to help the Family Pantry of Cape Cod.” The Chronicle kicked off the campaign with a $1,000 donation, and other contributors are lining up. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous Cape Cod businessman, the next $5,000 in donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

Each week between now and Labor Day, we’ll be featuring stories about the Family Pantry, its volunteers and the people it helps.


Contribute to The Chronicle’s summertime Helping Neighbors campaign by sending a tax-deductible contribution to The Family Pantry, 133 Queen Anne Rd., 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 now. The Chronicle will publish a list of donors each week.