By Bill Shields

HARWICH (CBS) – At The Family Pantry in Harwich, the shelves are brimming with food for families in need. If you can get there, they will load you up, but don’t count on a Thanksgiving meal. They stopped taking orders in late October.

“We plan for 600 turkey dinners,” said Christine Menard of The Family Pantry. “We met that quota on October 31, Halloween. So two weeks earlier than we would have met the quota we were already done for the season.”

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Cesar Alcantara is working full time. It pays the bills, but with a wife and three kids, The Family Pantry is a lifeline

“It helps a lot,” Alcantara said. “Especially with now the holidays coming up. I celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas.”

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Covid-19 hit Cape Cod hard. Unemployment in the hospitality industry skyrocketed. People who never before knew food insecurity, now know it well. The Family Pantry has become more important than ever.

“Twenty three percent of the Cape is food insecure,” Menard said. “And then you add Covid on top of it, and then you add a summer when they didn’t get all the work they potentially need.”

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The Family Pantry serves about 400 families per week, but they anticipate the need will be much greater in the coming months.

Bill Shields