By Cole Allenby
During this collectively uncertain time in life, there are seemingly few accessible options for help due to the current, massive obstacle—a pandemic. Nourishment may be far from the grasp of many families and students following the loss of a main provider’s job as well as the difficulty that comes with finding a consistent financial replenishment on Cape Cod. For those who are in this situation, look no further than our very own Cape Cod Community College (4Cs). At 4Cs, the Family Pantry of Cape Cod is up and running to satiate the mental and physical pang of stress during this harsh time.
The Family Pantry of Cape Cod is a non-profit and non-denominational organization that operates all over the Cape. Founded in 1989, the pantry was started after members of the St. Vincent De Paul Society of the Holy Trinity Church did not have the ability to provide the financial aid for those who needed food. They are a partner with the Greater Boston Food Bank, and they have two locations that they operate from. One location is on Queen Anne Road in Harwich, which is the main location that is housed in a large warehouse. They expanded in 2017 to have the ability to animate a mobile pantry, which is called Healthy Meals in Motion. To help serve the lower Cape, they run a satellite pantry on 4C’s campus that is available to all staff, students, faculty, and daycare parents.
Serving all the clients of The Family Pantry of Cape Cod are a force of 700 volunteers, a full-time executive director, thrift store manager, and warehouse manager. To help run all 700 of those volunteers, there are also the part time positions of office and program manager. According to the Pantry, “they… served over 9,500 clients and distributed 91,000 bags of groceries, which equals over 1.9 million meals, and over 33 tons of gently used clothing in 2018.”
The Family Pantry of Cape Cod receives 4 tractor trailer loads of food every month, which they use to fulfill the essential store of their location as well as the vacant, acidic, and spacious bellies of other pantries on the Cape.
For those on campus who many need some extra help during this pandemic, look no further than the location at 4Cs. It is located in the lower level of the Life Fitness Center Building, which is labeled as room PE G13. It is accessible only by appointments made in advance, which are limited to one every week. To make an appointment, one needs to call 774-330-4365. Following one’s arrival, it is required that one enters through the door that faces the rear parking lot of the Life Fitness Center from parking Lot 12. A volunteer is set to wait with a shopping list and potentially a new client registration form. After one completes these forms, it is to be returned to the volunteer, which will enable the exchange of one large bag of food between the volunteer and the new or returning client. When one constructs their shopping list, it is advised that one only selects foods that can be placed into a single bag, as is all preparations are made prior to an appointment. Many of these requests can receive the platter of fulfillment, but one may not receive all that has been noted on their list.
The Family Pantry of Cape Cod is closed during bad weather, holidays, the summer months, and winter break. If the main location is an easier drive, clients can access that pantry on Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. – 12 Noon, Thursdays 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., 5:00– 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 12 Noon. While the pantry does offer a clothing service, this has been paused during the pandemic. To assuage some stress, the Family Pantry has lifted all documentation requirements as a way to ensure that no one misses out on the chance to put food on the table. If one is in need of help, food, or just need a fervently cordial place to visit, the Family Pantry of Cape Cod within Harwich and 4Cs location are ready to help students and the greater Cape Cod through this turbulent time.