EASTHAM — In the summer, seasonal workers usually have enough work that they don’t need the support of the Eastham Food Pantry. But come winter, with fewer jobs and steep rents to meet, those same year-round residents find themselves strapped for cash.
Now is when Joan Lockhart, director of the Eastham Food Pantry, sees an increase in demand at the pantry at the United Methodist Church. And this year, she is seeing many new visitors.
“Week by week, we’re getting five, six, seven new families coming to our pantry,” Lockhart says. “Last week, we had 16 on Monday night.”
In total, the pantry serves about 180 different families each month, says Lockhart. The pantry is one of nine across the Outer and Mid-Cape funded by the Lower Cape Outreach Council, headquartered in Orleans.
The Council gets most of its food from the Greater Boston Food Bank, a nonprofit devoted to feeding Eastern Massachusetts. Ten volunteers help clients when they come to pick up groceries.
But the onslaught of cold weather brings on something more than increased demand; it brings the holidays, a time for gathering around food. This Thanksgiving, the pantry is supplying families with the holiday’s staples, including turkey and the usual fixings. So far, 40 people have signed up for the dinners.
A mile down the road, Eastham residents can find a little more help at the Exchange at the Chapel in the Pines. It’s a cupboard that is open 24-7, says Nauset Fellowship member Pat O’Brien. The Chapel has a small budget to stock the Exchange, but it mostly relies on donations.
Grocery stores, including Shaw’s and Trader Joe’s, also donate food, which explains why the cupboard sometimes contains “interesting and different stuff, like pickles and mustards,” O’Brien says. A snack doused in Everything But the Bagel seasoning is not out of the question.
The Exchange also includes cosmetics items, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, and laundry soap, O’Brien says.
Beyond these two resources, the Council on Aging provides several food services. A mobile food pantry operates on the first Wednesday of every month. Brown Bag Friday offers a bag of groceries picked out by staff on the first Friday of every month. And a meal delivery program makes its route every Tuesday and Thursday.
Eastham Food Pantry
Open Mon. 4 to 6 p.m., Tues. 10 a.m. to noon, and Thur. 2 to 4 p.m.
United Methodist Church, 3200 State Highway
Eastham Food Exchange
A 24/7 cupboard, open to all.
Chapel in the Pines, 220 Samoset Rd.
Council on Aging
Mobile food pantry: first Wed. of every month; Brown Bag Friday: first Fri. of every month; meal delivery: every Tues. and Thurs.
1405 Nauset Rd.