The Holidays Are The Time For 'Helping Neighbors'
The Cape Cod Chronicle has launched its 20th annual Helping Neighbors campaign to raise money for the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. In honor of that milestone anniversary, we’ve set the highest fundraising goal ever; we’re encouraging our readers to help us raise $125,000 by New Year’s Day. Thanks to David and Gail Oppenheim and three anonymous donors, the first $50,000 in contributions are being matched dollar for dollar.
Each week, the Chronicle will be publishing the names of donors and sharing stories about the Pantry, the people who rely on it to put groceries on the table each month, and the volunteers who make it all happen.
Each year, we report that the number of clients who turn to the Family Pantry has increased, and 2023 is no exception.
“Right now we are at 28 percent over last year, and last year was 39 percent [over the previous year],” Family Pantry Executive Director Christine Menard said. “We’re running about 700 families a week right now.” For perspective, when Menard took her position eight years ago, the Pantry was serving 180 families each week. What’s changed since then?
“The world,” Menard said simply. The pandemic harmed the economy, and challenges in the industrial supply chain still remain. “Now we hit the war in Ukraine, which hit the oil pricing. And then we hit 40-year inflation,” she said. While inflation has moderated, food prices remain high. Locally, that pressure is paired with the severe lack of housing, and it’s a recipe for financial hardship. “We have families — literally, not lying — there are 15 people in the house. Fifteen,” she said. People are drawn together to pool resources for survival, “because there’s no other place to live.”
The Family Pantry can’t solve the housing crisis, but it can help struggling families by alleviating one major expense: food. Visitors to the pantry get to choose from a selection of healthy foods, including fresh produce, dairy and proteins – expensive staples that many food pantries don’t offer. It’s all offered for free, with no strings attached. Clients can even choose from a selection of donated clothing to take home.
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), or call 508 432-6519 to learn about other ways to help.
Learn more about the hidden face of Hunger on the Lower Cape in this special video report: