‘Pantry Partners’ Brings Extra Food to Locals in Need

Bay Area Food Bank Distributes Thanksgiving Turkeys To The NeedyCHATHAM – Lynne O’Brien of Virginia has been coming to the Cape for over 50 years. But 11 years ago, she said she came across a problem which shattered her view of an idyllic vacationland.

“We were up here a lot in the winter, and I noticed there were many articles about hunger and families not able to buy groceries,” O’Brien said.

She decided to do something about it. She began partnering with local real estate offices and managers of rental homes to set up drop-off locations where vacationing families can leave their unused food.

Pantry Partners, which O’Brien started in 2005, currently accepts non-perishable as well as fresh items, in addition to dry and paper goods such as diapers.

“We pick it up at the Realtors and bring it to the pantries,” O’Brien said, referring to her network of volunteers in Cape towns including Chatham, Falmouth, Hyannis, Dennis, Orleans, Brewster and Wellfleet.

She said the organization is encouraging participation from not just short-visit renters, but people who come for longer periods as well.

While O’Brien said there are other large issues such as the lack of affordable housing, she believes families who are struggling to match the higher cost of living on Cape need services like this.

“These people are central to making these communities work, and some of them work two or three jobs to make ends meet,” she said. “If they can go to the pantry to get some food, it can be a real benefit.”

Chatham drop-off locations include: 922 Main St.; 20 Heritage Lane; 1173 Main St.; 1455 Main St.; 37 Cross St.; 856 Main St.; 29 Stage Harbor Rd.; and 1715 Main St.

Harwich drop-off locations are: 556 Main St.; 551 Main St.

O’Brien said she hopes to expand the locations to more towns across the Cape.

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