Season Of Giving Shines On With New $10,000 Matching Grant

By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley

Topics: Benefits , Harwich , Family Pantry of Cape Cod

Treasures and await in welcoming CDC-compliant safety at The Family Pantry's Second Glance Thrift Shop. Courtesy Photo

The spirit of giving is going strong this year at The Family Pantry, and Executive Director Christine Menard couldn't be more pleased.
“I'm so psyched!” she simply said, expressing what every Family Pantry supporter feels as the generosity of the season ensures access to healthy, nutritious meals will continue for those in need in our community.
Just as November's generous $20,000 matching donation given by an anonymous donor has come to its end, another two families have stepped up, answering the call of the season with an anonymous $10,000 matching gift in honor of all Cape Cod Healthcare First Responders. With this matching gift, your donation to help your neighbors in need this holiday season goes twice as far, providing twice as many meals for hungry individuals and families. There couldn't be a better time to give, so while you're making those final adjustments to your gift list this year, add The Family Pantry and give the gift that really makes a difference for your neighbors in need, the gift of healthy, nourishing meals.
Speaking of holiday shopping lists, it just isn't the season of giving without a visit to The Family Pantry's Second Glance Thrift Shop in West Harwich. In addition to being the friendliest place in town, Second Glance is a safe spot with CDC guidelines being followed to the letter. A greeter is the first line of defense against COVID-19 at the entrance, with hand sanitizer and gloves for all customers and a mandatory mask for anyone who forgot to wear one. Only 15 people may enter the shop at a time, and a one-way travel pattern is indicated throughout to make maintaining the six-foot social distancing guideline a snap. The entire premises are treated every night with a disinfecting fogger, and air purifiers are on the job to keep volunteers and shoppers safe.
Every purchase made at Second Glance is a direct donation to The Family Pantry, so while you are hunting for that perfect gift, you are also paying for the Pantry's food program.
Second Glance Manager Jennifer Vaughn took over the position in October of this year. Has it been a challenge to take the reins of a retail store during a pandemic in the run up to the holiday season? According to Vaughn, a retail veteran with 35 years of experience, absolutely not.
I don't feel like this is a difficult time to take on this position because retail is about always adapting to change,” Vaughn said. “It's not really any different, because things always change. In this case the change involves more safety and cleaning. We take steps to keep this environment clean and safe. We follow every guideline. We're here to serve all your needs, and there are always new products and always the best service for our customers.”
Along with assistant manager Avery Smith and about 70 volunteers, Vaughn makes sure that everyone who comes into Second Glance has a friendly, positive experience at what Menard says many people call the “Nordstrom of thrift shops.” The items available for purchase at Second Glance are the cream of the crop of gently used donated items, sometimes with original tags still attached. All donated clothing is quarantined for two days before being offered for sale, and all household items are fogged with disinfectant prior to placement on the sales floor. New items are continuously added, creating a sort of treasure hunt feeling as customers look for that perfect one-of-a-kind find.
The most important part of Second Glance, especially these days, Vaughn said, is the human connection. People come in not only to shop but also for compassion and human interaction.
“We need to treat them with respect, and I'm afraid many retailers have lost focus on the best gift they can offer to their customers – to hear their story and understand their needs,” Vaughan said. “We get to know our customer. Some are living alone and have been cooped up in their homes. They're feeling isolated. Some are feeling scared. To be able to come to a local store in their community, feel welcomed and have a friendly conversation in a safe environment means a lot, and we intend to reach out to every person who comes in with a human touch – socially distanced, of course – whether they are buying or not.”
Vaughn said the only thing she'd change about taking on her new management position at Second Glance is that she wishes she'd known more about
the store a long time ago.
“It's such a great place, such a good cause,” she said, “and the people you meet are the best part.”
Second Glance Thrift Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 265 Route 28, West Harwich. To make your contribution through the Helping Neighbors campaign, 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 may also call 508-432-6519 to make a donation or visit TheFamilyPantry.com.