Cape Cod is famously known to be a playground for the wealthy. But, on the flipside of that, there are the hungry, the homeless, the disabled, and those who struggle every day to find even the basics to survive, including food. There are literally more than 10,000 Cape Cod residents who wonder where their next meal will come from.
The Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled (CORD) is trying to help. While there are many food pantries across the Cape helping the hungry, there are so many more residents who can’t get to these locations. That’s why CORD has launched its Mobile Food Pantry – to bring food closer to where those people are living.
“There are so many more people we need to reach with this,” says Coreen Brinckerhoff, President and CEO of CORD. “We’re only serving eight towns right now between Hyannis and Provincetown. There are thousands of people who need this available to them. And we need those people to reach out to us.”
The CORD Mobile Food Pantry is a big, yellow bus. The bus is loaded up each delivery day with non-perishable groceries and it finds a place large enough to park and for the bus to turn around, such as housing authorities or lower-income housing parking lots, where it will be visible. Unlike Meals on Wheels, the Mobile Food Pantry volunteers do not deliver door to door, but wait for people to come to them. And come, they do.
“We’re not competing with other pantries,” Brinckerhoff says. “We’re supplementing them. We offer canned goods, non-perishable goods, and have a ‘choice’ pantry – whatever that person needs, if we have it, they can have it.”
She adds that one person can get a minimum of two bags of food. And, although the CORD mission is to assist those with disabilities, no one who is hungry and in need of food will be turned away from the Mobile Food Pantry.
Brinckerhoff says they do occasional food drives but the majority of food comes from the Boston Food Bank. People have been very generous, she adds, “but hunger is a real problem on the Cape. There should not be so many in need.”
Mike Magnant, Executive Vice President and COO of CORD, stresses the importance of the need for funding for this project. One bus will not be able to provide the food needed to feed thousands.
“We need community support. This is not federally funded and we need funding,” he says. “The people we serve are our neighbors. Boulders need to be moved. Why would anyone let this go, unattended? For the benefit of everyone, CORD needs to win. We need people to become a part of this, to be inspired by this.”
Brinckerhoff says that CORD will have a second Mobile Food Pantry soon, and will be able to cover more area. She adds, however, that volunteers are desperately needed for this project to be successful. They are currently in need of drivers to operate the bus and distribute food, volunteers who can meet the bus at a given site and help give out food, people to help with data entry, food drives and fundraisers, etc.
Most importantly, she says, “We need donations – money, food, a little time – whatever a person or a business organization can do, it’s greatly appreciated.” CORD is reaching out to civic groups, local businesses and private donors.
To see a schedule of Mobile Food Pantry stops, to get more information, to volunteer or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit CORDcapecod.org or call 508-775-8300.
It’s never too late to help your neighbors in need.