This is my 10th Thanksgiving at The Family Pantry of Cape Cod and I must say it does get easier. The first few years I worried if we would have enough turkeys and how we would get more at the last minute if we needed them. Every day I would check the number of people signed up for a turkey and have my Dad check how many turkeys were in the freezer. I am sure I drove him crazy (probably not the first or last time for that!). The past few years I go into the holiday season knowing it will all work out. I don't necessarily know the details but I know it will work out. We are fortunate to live on Cape Cod which is a tremendously generous community and everyone comes to help for the holidays.
If you haven't already supported us this holiday season I would ask you to consider supporting us on Giving Tuesday. After the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Tuesday 12/2 is dedicated to donating to non-profit organizations and we would appreciate any support. All donations are used for our food program and I can promise you that we spend all money that we receive very cost-effectively.
Our 25th Thanksgiving!
We receive a couple hundred turkeys at the pantry from individuals who drop one off as part of their holiday spirit. Alongside the turkeys many people donate food and/or conduct food drives to help us. This time of year we are as busy receiving food from people as we are giving it out which is why our founders chose the name "Family Pantry of Cape Cod" . We are all family; the clients who need a little help, the volunteers who are the heart and soul of the pantry, and the donors who provide the financial support to make it all happen.
A million thanks to all of the Cape Cod Chronicle readers who helped us help over 500 families have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to your support each family received a turkey with all the fixings including fresh vegetables (potatoes, onions, butternut squash), fresh apples and pie mix, canned veggies, cranberry sauce, gravy and Cape Cod Cranberry jelly donated by Debbie Greiner & Tina Labossiere.
Another big thank you to Jeff Gomes of Brax Landing who hosts a complete turkey dinner open to all. We provide turkeys and the fixings to families of three or more and refer all our individuals and families of two people to the lovely dinner at Brax. A huge shout out to Linda Nixon who takes all the reservations! We are lucky to have Jeff and Linda as part of our family!
Thanksgiving is a huge day and we simply could not do it without tremendous community support. Like the academy awards we can't list every individual but want to mention some of the groups who help us make a wonderful holiday for our clients:
- Each year we are fortunate enough to have the support of David Oppenheim & Shane Coughlin at the Chatham Wayside Inn who donate 100 turkeys! David & Shane have been doing this at least 10 years and I suspect many more - probably since we opened 25 years ago!
- Allen Harbor Yacht Club who put on an incredible Thanks for Giving Dinner each year. The meal is prepared by the members and all proceeds come to the pantry. This year the event raised $12K and a truck full of food and clothing!
- Terry Griffith, Commodore of Allen Harbor Yacht Club presented $12,000 to the pantry!
- We also are grateful to The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod who donated 14 turkeys and a huge food drive!
- Pete Moynagh and Harwich High students ran a food drive at Shaws Supermarket and collected a lot of food including 30 turkeys!
- John Dufault and the members of Eastward Ho donated 5 turkeys and food and clothing too!
- The Murray family who donated 60 pies which we distributed through a pie raffle!
- Nauset Disposal donated a full truck load of full of food to keep our shelves stocked through the winter!
- Stop & Shop who is donating their boxes of food which will also help keep our shelves stocked through the winter!
In addition to all the donors another group of people we could not do without are our wonderful volunteers! We have over 425 volunteers all of whom provide great services throughout the year. The team I would like to highlight today is our turkey crew! Each year Ray Sacramone organizes an incredible team to work turkey day. This year when we decided to be open 2 days for turkey distribution I thought we would need to get a second group of volunteers but every one of them joined us for both days. The turkey crew included: Skip Burns, Karen Campbell, Leo Dunphy, Larry Hake, Jody Johnson, Mary Kocot, David Mahan, David McGlone, Kay & Ray Sacramone, and Sam Simonis assisted by our staff members Pat Brophy and Jim O'Bara.
Ray Sacramone & Sam Simonis unload turkeys
Start the new year right as a Family Pantry volunteer!!!
We have 425 dedicated and treasured volunteers. It would be impossible to accomplish our mission of providing food and clothes to those in need without them. It may be hard to believe but even with 425 active, hardworking volunteers we are always looking for a few more. Our biggest challenge is Saturdays and before you say "oh I can't do weekends" I ask you to think about it.
We are very flexible and have a large sign out calendar for all positions. Many people go away for 3 or 4 month in the winter and others do not volunteer in the summer due to a large number of visitors and we make it all work out. We would be happy to have you join our Saturday team even if you could commit to one or two Saturdays a month.
The jobs we need help with at the pantry are:
- pantry warehouse - stocking shelves 7-10AM or 10 to 12:30
- bottles & cans - sorting our recyclables 7-10am
- food distribution - working with clients selecting food - 9:30 - 12:30
- boutique - working with clients selecting clothing and/or sorting clothes 9:30-12
We also have a thrift shop, Second Glance, on Route 28 in Harwich Port and we could use help on Saturdays both mornings (10-1) and afternoons (1-4). We are in particular need here and suggest maybe doing it as a job share with a friend. So one of you would be there each Saturday morning or afternoon but not both of you. Of course if you both wanted to be there together that would be an added gift and think how much fun you would have! In addition to giving back to the community most volunteers form lasting friendships with the people they volunteer with and who couldn't use an extra friend or two? Some of my favorite friends are pantry volunteers.
Toys come next of course!
I know we have barely digested our turkey dinner but believe it or not we are already well into planning our toy program. We are fortunate to have two wonderful volunteers: Chris Howard & Toni London who stepped forward and volunteered to chair the toy program after long time Queen of Toys, Jeanette Lynch stepped down last year. Chris & Toni were very involved last year watching the process and making plans for this year. They have computerized the sign up process and have captains for each age group who are already working on matching toys to the age groups. I expect we will have a wonderful toy day. We already have commitments from many families and organizations who support us each year but are asking anyone whose budget will allow to consider donating new unwrapped toys/gifts for children 14 and younger. Several businesses have offered to help us collect toys so in addition to dropping them off at the pantry (133 Queen Anne Road in Harwich) you can leave toys at the following businesses: Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank - East Harwich, Harwich Port & Dennis Commonwealth Associates in Harwich Port Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod in East Harwich Monahan's Jewelers in Harwich Port Second Glance Thrift Shop in Harwich Port Talbots in East Harwich
We would appreciate receiving any donated toys by December 15th and if you want us to do the shopping for you, donations are always welcome and you can specify that it is for our toy program. donate now
Our Hours of Operation
Thursday 10-3:30 and 5-7PM
Visit our website www.thefamilypantry.com and like us on facebook.
The Family Pantry of Cape Cod
133 Queen Anne Road
Harwich, MA 02645