Helping Neighbors Donations Vital As Thrift Shop Closes Doors

By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley

Volunteers sort through donations during the pre-mask days before the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has been difficult for everyone, but for those who rely on The Family Pantry for access to nourishing food for themselves and their families, things have been especially hard. Job loss, housing insecurity and juggling bringing home a paycheck with helping school-age children to navigate virtual classrooms have made a tough time even tougher.

Now, with diagnosed cases of the virus across Cape Cod on the rise just in time for the holidays, another challenge has been added to the mix: that of having to make some very difficult decisions. Family Pantry Executive Director Christine Menard found herself in exactly that position recently when she had to make the difficult decision to close off a vital stream of revenue for The Family Pantry's food program by closing the doors of The Second Glance Thrift Shop.

Menard explained that although every health and safety protocol was being followed to the smallest detail at Second Glance, keeping the doors open as cases continue to rise just wasn't worth the risk.

“We were feeling very confident and comfortable with the precautions that were in place, but with virtually all communities of the Cape going red, we prefer to err on the side of caution,” Menard said. “We know there will be another surge after the holidays. It's not worth taking a risk after what happened after Thanksgiving. We're run by volunteers. We don't want to put them in an unsafe position.”

Menard said that with the shop closing until further notice, The Family Pantry will need more help than ever from the Helping Neighbors campaign. Whether you are a regular customer of Second Glance or you've been meaning to go there and check out the place that has earned the nickname “The Nordstrom of Thrift Shops,” you're probably aware that the Pantry relies on sales from Second Glance to keep the food program running smoothly. With demand higher than ever, now is the time to dig deep and make a donation to help the Pantry continue to provide friends and neighbors in need with nourishing meals in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and its quick and well-coordinated, low-contact outdoor pickup.

Are you taking advantage of the holiday break to clear out some closets and let go of a few very gently used items? Are you anticipating that you might be willing to part with a few not-quite-right holiday gifts after unwrapping them this year? Although Second Glance is closed to shoppers, donations are still being accepted in the donation center at the rear of the shop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m.

“We will spend this time building our inventory so when we reopen we'll be ready to rock and roll,” Menard said. “We're happy to accept re-gifts. We'll take that waffle maker you got and really don't want.”

Donations will be accepted in as contact-free a manner as possible. Donors are asked to remain in their cars while volunteers unload the donations. All clothing must be in a closed plastic trash bag. Furniture and food cannot be accepted at this time. All donations will be vetted at the time of donation, and not everything can be accepted. Acceptable donations may include new or gently used men’s and women's summer and winter clothing, new or gently used home goods, kitchen items, artwork, lamps, beach read types of books and recipe books, jewelry, small working countertop appliances and craft items.
At this time the following items cannot be accepted as donations: children's clothing or toys, furniture of any kind, large appliances, computers, telephones, DVD players, televisions, cameras, sound equipment, medical equipment, mattresses, box springs, pillows, ceiling light fixtures or ceiling fans, headboards or bed frames.

Menard encouraged Second Glance Thrift Shop customers and supporters to keep an eye on The Family Pantry's website ( and social media accounts (, @familypantryCC, for news on when the shop will reopen.
“We will just have to sit tight until this time of increased danger is through. We hope to be open March 1, but we will only reopen when it is safe to do so,” Menard said. “We will all get through this.”
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