Frankly, we were blown away.
Just as we were putting together an article marking the end of our summer Helping Neighbors campaign, Family Pantry of Cape Cod Executive Director Christine Menard informed us that a last-minute $5,000 donation – the second one in that amount in a week – had come up. Both of the donations will be matched by a group of summer residents who wish to remain anonymous, pushing the final tally of the summer fund drive over $100,000.
That's an incredible infusion into the Family Pantry's coffers at a time when donations usually fall off considerably. But it looks like the goal of this campaign – a summer installment of our holiday Helping Neighbors fund drive, which also benefits the Pantry – has been realized. We wanted to not only make it known to the summer residents of the region that Cape Cod is not all fun in the sun, that there are people here who struggle and have a hard time making ends meet much of the year. It may not seem like there's much need here when everyone is working long hours and jobs are going begging, but we can guarantee that by the time this editorial sees print, two days after Labor Day, some of those folks will already be either without work already or trying to run a household on severely reduced working hours. Having the pool of money going into the fall means the Pantry will be ready with fully stocked shelves when the need begins to ramp up even more.
And if there is still any doubt that services like food pantries are not needed on Cape Cod, the establishment of a small pantry at Chatham Elementary School should should put that notion to rest. After failing to qualify for a federal program that would have provided free lunch for all students – despite a well-documented need – the school is partnering with the Lower Cape Outreach Council to provide staples and other essentials to a small group of students, at first. School officials have already identified a group of kids who will have their backpacks stuffed a few days a week and on Fridays, so families don't go hungry on weekends. If the program is successful, officials are open to expanding it to other schools in the Monomoy District.
Thanks to all our readers, whether they be residents summer or year-round, for contributing to the Helping Neighbors campaign. Unfortunately, the need has grown over the years, and is likely to continue to do so; that's why we originally began the Helping Neighbors fundraising effort that begins every Thanksgiving. And we'll be back at you then, asking you to once again tap into your generosity to help out your neighbors in need.