Stepping Up 
A s the weeks go by, we figure out more innovative and efficient ways to address the needs of our Lower and Outer Cape neighbors. 
We’re still running drive through food pantries in Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro as well 
as by-appointment-only walk in pantries in Chatham and Provincetown. We are still providing food on a regular basis to 
350 to 500 households every week. And, we’re still concentrating on keeping everyone safe, volunteers and clients alike.
I’m happy to add that Howard is now delivering food to over 60 homebound clients every week.
We’ve been looking at software that allows clients to go online and order precisely the food and paper products and toiletries that they need but the truth is this software is very expensive and we are trying to concentrate our donor’s dollars on our clients, not technology. 

So, Gennie came up with an ingenious solution. She has created a shopping list which is included in every bag of groceries we give out so the next time clients drive in, they can present their list and in a matter of minutes receive bags containing precisely what they need and want. No waste. No guesswork.
To make it even better, the shopping list is bi-lingual.

To download pdf of shopping list click the image at the left.
One Step At A Time
What will things look like in our offices as things start opening up?
Across the nation, areas that opened up first are reporting spikes in cases of the virus. Many health professionals warn that an eagerness to revitalize the economy may lead to a return of circumstances that shut us down only last March. 
Not surprisingly, many of our volunteers are conflicted. They are loyal to Lower Cape Outreach Council. They care about our clients, especially in this very difficult time when unemployment insurance payments are projected to return to pre-Covid levels. But returning to the office poses challenges to seniors and to those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Summer, which has traditionally been a time for local workers to catch up with last winter’s bills and lay some ahead for next winter, is very unpredictable this year. It’s hard to believe that tourism is going to be a boom industry this summer. It’s hard to imagine how difficult the winter head might be.

The staff is conflicted, too. We have all performed our functions through these months, never skipping a beat, never dropping a stitch. I work from home and come by the office two or three times each week to catch up on paperwork, sign checks and to use the resources that the office offers. Gennie and Therese and Howard have handled increased work loads and enabled our whole organization to operate smoothly and to respond exceptionally to client needs.

Like our volunteers, we’re uncertain about what the future holds and how completely we want to commit to business as usual. Therefore, we have set up an “in office” schedule that has Gennie, Therese, Kim (our new part time bookkeeper) and I alternating days and hours. This is not to open us up as a walk-in center. Therese and Kim will be working together upstairs. Gennie will be there for appointments and phone calls from volunteers and clients. I’ll be there to work on grants and other fundraising possibilities.

The point is, we’re covered. We’re performing all of the work functions we always have. We all hope for the day when we can open our doors and invite volunteers and clients and board members to drop by whenever they like. Until that time, we’ve taken all the advised precautions to make our workplace as safe as possible for those who must be there. 
We’ve decreased the seating in our waiting area so there is no need for more than two people to wait inside.
Starting at the front door, we let all visitors know what’s expected.

For those who are unprepared to follow these guidelines, we have masks and gloves and hand sanitizers immediately available.
Once inside, clients, volunteers and staff are protected by plexiglass shields that minimize any risks.
It’s a different time. A difficult time. We all have regrets about not being able to work together as a team. For me, it’s far more inspiring to collaborate with my co-workers and our extraordinary team of volunteers. It’s much more productive to brainstorm with board members and committee heads. 
I’m sure things will be right again but, until that time, you can rest assured that we are taking every step possible to care for our clients and to make sure we all stay safe and healthy.
A Step in the Right Direction
Some pictures are worth a thousand words. In this case, perhaps a few words might help.
The gentleman on the left is Rick Marvin of Eastham. Rick is making a donation to our Eastham Food Pantry in memory of his daughter, Chloe. He is joining with other local business
people and individuals who have decided to share all or part of their stimulus checks with the Lower Cape Outreach Council. 
Accepting Rick’s check is Susan Walsh, an Eastham pantry volunteer, board member and LCOC officer. In the doorway is Susan’s socially distanced husband, Dave Ritchie.
Stepping Down… but Not Out!
Some really wonderful people agree to serve on Lower Cape Outreach Council’s board of directors. Recently our board convened at Nauset Beach for a special event. Board president, Pat Rowell, had come to the end of her term as well as our past president, Nancy Renn. We also took the occasion to thank two long time board members, Abby Summersgill and Judy Gaechter, who will leave the board in September. 

It was a beautiful evening at the beach. Socially distancing and wearing masks
(between sips), we managed to have a
wonderful time and to let these splendid people know how much they are appreciated and loved. 

Our new president, John Roman, hosted the evening and expressed the very sincere affection felt by everyone at Lower Cape Outreach Council.
Besides our good fortune to have John assume the role of board president, we also took the occasion to welcome Jim Botsford of Cape Cod Five to the board. A tradition of excellence continues!

Pat, Nancy, Abby and Judy,
family has no term limits .
The Next Step…
Summer of Hope begins on Friday, July 3 rd in The Cape Codder. 

For 6 consecutive Fridays, you’ll find case studies of clients we are helping and have helped during this difficult time. We are not supplementing these articles with a fundraising letter this summer. Instead, at the end of each article, you’ll find a coupon you can return with your check or credit card information to record your donation in the following Friday’s edition of The Cape Codder, either in your name or in the name of a friend or family member. (Of course, recording your name and donation is optional. You never have to worry about your name being recorded without your permission.)

In fact, you can bypass the whole process
by clicking on donate at the end of this newsletter or by going to lcoutreach.org .
The point is, Summer of Hope is a chance for everyone to help Lower Cape Outreach Council continue to be a source of hope and help for residents who are struggling to keep hope alive.

We are spending record amounts of money on food and emergency financial assistance and, frankly, we need the help of those who can help.

If you live here full time, if you’re a seasonal resident, if you’re a visitor who loves this wonderful place, please join us in making this a Summer of Hope.

Larry Marsland, CEO
Lower Cape Outreach Council
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