Harvest of Barnstable Continuing Meal Program During Pandemic

YARMOUTH PORT – At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the Cape’s homeless population, Harvest of Barnstable is stepping up to provide meals for the St. Joseph’s Homeless Shelter.

The organization, which is traditionally known for designing, manufacturing, and selling gifts inspired by nature, is currently donating 100 bagged lunches every weekend to the shelter with the help of volunteers and donations.

Before the pandemic, the company was preparing for the spring season, one of its busiest.

When Governor Charlie Baker announced the closure of non-essential business last month, Harvest of Barnstable had to close its doors.

After a few days of panic, company owner Pamela Parker new she had to do something.

When an employee mentioned that there was a food shortage at St. Joseph’s, Parker began to take action.

“In the early days when we first closed the doors I found it hard to breath for a couple of days and then I just got out of my own head and said we’ve just got to do some good things,” Parker said.

“It hit me so quickly when I heard that St. Joseph’s needed help, it was the only thing to do, I had no choice.”

Harvest of Barnstable makes 100 bagged lunches for the shelter and delivers 50 on Saturday’s and 50 on Sunday’s.

When Parker reached out to St. Joseph’s she found that not only was the shelter’s volunteer pool diminished because of the quarantine, financial donations had significantly dropped because of the unemployment rate.

During the first week of making lunches for the shelter, Harvest of Barnstable employees worked completely from their own donations.

When donations began to run low, Parker reached out to customers through the company’s email database and the response was overwhelming.

The company is accepting donations of all kinds and has created a list of items on its website that it is currently seeking, including food items, lip balm, toothpaste, hand lotions, and other toiletries.  

Customers can drop off donations at the two Harvest locations in Yarmouth Port and Falmouth. They can also order items on Amazon and have them shipped to the Harvest locations.

Parker said that the company has recently received many gift cards and anyone interested in sending one along can do so as well.

The company is practicing safe social distancing and when donations are made, employees come outside with masks and gloves on to pick them up.

She added that customers have thanked her and her staff because donating has given them something to do and allowed them to feel as though they are helping during the unprecedented times.

Officials from the shelter said that if it was not for Harvest of Barnstable, there would not be meals to provide to people during the weekends.

According to Parker, many shelter employees are overcome with emotion when the lunches are delivered because it is making such a difference.

She also pledged that Harvest of Barnstable will continue its commitment to the shelter until it is no longer needed.  

“We have made the commitment that we are going to stick by the people and residents who are working at St. Joseph’s Homeless Shelter,” said Parker.  

“This not a problem that is going to go away as soon as the Governor opens all the businesses again. It’s going to take a while for people to get their incomes back up and to be able to make finical donations to the shelter, so Harvest of Barnstable has committed that we are going to be there to help feed these residents as long as we need to.”

The company said that if for some reason the shelter cannot provide meals to people during the week, they will step and try to help as best they can.

Harvest is also working on making goodie-bags filled with toiletries and other similar items to send to the shelter.

They are also continuing to sell regular products online during the pandemic.   

Parker was very thankful for her staff and customers who have made donations during the pandemic.

She also thanked Cape Cod Broadcasting for getting the information out to people and help increase awareness.

For more information on Harvest of Barnstable and a list of donations, visit Harvestofbarnstable.com, or call 508 362 4595.

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