Home for the Holidays
This holiday season, Cape Cod is experiencing a housing crisis. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than on the Lower Cape where a lack of good paying jobs and housing that’s affordable combine to make the holidays a time of fear and doubt.

That’s where the Lower Cape Outreach Council comes into the picture. Thanks to you, our annual Gifts of Hope holiday campaign makes many wonderful things possible. When you give to the Gifts of Hope campaign, you make it possible for local people to stay in their homes. You make it possible for them to consolidate their resources by shopping for groceries in our 9 food pantries from Harwich to Provincetown or by using Katy’s Korner, our free clothing store in Orleans. You make it possible for them to turn to us for backup support when the heat is running low or when there’s a threat of utility shut-offs. You make it possible for them to get back to work when a car or truck or boat needs repair.

You also make it possible for them to prepare for and pursue new, more self-sustaining job paths.

Hundreds of local households have made it through the past 20 months because you have made it possible for us to help. Last year, we were able to distribute $962,680 of food to households in need. We were able to provide $999,419 in emergency financial assistance to help our clients hold on when things seemed overwhelming. 

You made these things possible. Your friendship and support are essential to our clients as they work to keep their heads above water and put food on their tables.

Each Friday from November 26 through January 7, The Cape Codder will publish case studies of clients we’ve helped this year. They will also run a weekly list of donors to the Gifts of Hope campaign. If you’d like your donation recorded just let us know. (Btw, this is a perfect way to memorialize or honor a loved one.)

Mail your contribution to Lower Cape Outreach Council, P.O. Box 2013, Orleans MA 02653 or contribute online at lcoutreach.org.

Give a gift of hope to a neighbor who is struggling.
Happy holidays!
Ho Ho Ho! 
Guess Who’s Back!
That’s right. Santa’s Stop has re-opened for business this holiday season.

From December 7 to 11, we’ll be open for clients from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM with evening hours on December 9th.                                   

As usual we’ll provide bags of brand new toys to moms and dads who are struggling to make the season bright.
If the number of turkeys we gave out at Thanksgiving is any indication, there should be well over 400 households that will visit Santa’s Stop during this year.

The location of Santa’s Stop is only known only to our staff and volunteers. Together, they put together a wonderland of toys and bikes and dolls and decorations and wrapping papers and ribbons, even holiday trees . . . no chunks of coal allowed!

If you want to be a part of this happy holiday event, there is something you can do to help. While the world is very generous in providing toys for kids, teenagers are often overlooked, even though they also qualify as children. So, if you’d like to help a teen smile this holiday season, why not give something that every teen loves…a gift card!

That’s right. Gift cards are perfect gifts for teens who know exactly what they want and where to get it. Santa suggests you look into such retailers as: TJ Maxx, Apple, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Dick’s, CVS, Chocolate Sparrow, Dunkin’ Donuts, Red Balloon, Brewster Corner Store and Snow’s. Between these vendors, we’ve covered almost every possible teen delight.

Ho, ho, ho, let’s make those sleigh bells jingle for our favorite teens!

“There are three stages of a man’s life:
  he believes in Santa Claus;
  he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus;
  he is Santa Claus.”
Author unknown
The Ladies of Katy’s
One step at a time we’re returning to something that resembles normal. 

Katy’s Korner is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM until noon. You can bring your winter clothing, bedding and kids’ clothes to us any day of the week during those hours.

The number of clients allowed into Katy’s at any one time has been cut back for the safety of volunteers and clients alike. Masks are required and social distancing is the order of the day particularly because Katy’s can be a tight squeeze. As with our pantries, shopping will be a more private experience that allows for safety and anonymity.

What remains the same are a wide variety of quality clothing and bedding plus a large dose of warmth and friendship.

By the way, we are in need of children’s clothing.
Back to front:
Carol Wiley, Candi Franklin and Diane Smith.
“Clothes make the man.
Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Mark Twain
Old Friends
Gary Bowden, VP of Nauset Newcomers, presents Larry Marsland with over $3,800 in gift cards and checks to help us provide turkeys and toys for the holidays.

Nauset Newcomers is an old and valued friend. When I was first at Lower Cape Outreach Council twenty years ago (yikes) I spoke at Nauset Newcomers about a lack of volunteers we were experiencing at the time. At the end of the meeting, as I drove back to Orleans, I was leading a caravan of at least six cars of folks who wanted to sign up to volunteer that very day.

It’s been that way ever since. Nauset Newcomers has stood by us through thick and thin and the beneficiaries of their loyalty have been hundreds of Lower and Outer Cape households who have found the help they needed at Lower Cape Outreach Council.
Thanks, friends!
“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”
Misty Copeland
Opening up . . .
For months we’ve pursued business as usual in most unusual ways. Masks, safe distances, plexiglass panels and hand sanitizers have become standard practice. Hugs and handshakes have been replaced by elbow bumps and meaningful glances. Having fun or holding meetings in large groups usually happens on Zoom.

It’s not so much a matter of how and when we break out of these restrictions as it is how we remain mindful and adjust to realities that may or may not be with us indefinitely.
Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 until 12:30. Still the foot traffic coming into this building remains as sparse as it has been throughout this time of pandemic. People now call and make appointments if they need face-to-face contact. Otherwise, they speak with their advocates or with our front desk.

Pantry appointments are set up in advance and can be arranged so that the client is the only persopn utilizing the pantry at the time of the visit. We’ve strengthened the safety net by expanding our delivery of food to shut ins and folks who can’t access our pantries.
The same is true for the rest of our programs and services.We are as responsive as we have always been but our methods and practices have been modified to protect our staff, our volunteers and our clients.

Is it possible to achieve all the things we achieve without dropping our precautions?
We’re not willing to bet your health or ours finding out.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Benjamin Franklin
Education is the Key
Here at Lower Cape Outreach Council the vast majoriy of our work over the past 20 months has been making sure local people have food on their tables and roofs over their heads. For the most part, more sophisticated programs and services have taken a back seat to more fundamental life necessities. 

Still, education and training have remained priorities especially to clients who have struggled economically during this time of Covid. Over the past 20 months, more than a hundred clients or children of clients have found tuition assistance to continue their educations as VNA’s, medical assistants, paralegals, veterinary assistancts, EMTs, real estate and insurance industry professionals, even fire fighters. 

Tuition assistance and educational services remain front burner items. Because of our affiliation with JTEC (Job Training and Employment Corp.) of Hyannis, we have been able to offer our clients help with resumes, interview skills,
computer literacy and specific skills that fit the needs of local employers.

Beyond that, we pay for books, computers, uniforms, licenses, and a myriad of costs that come with starting a new career. One of the happiest expenses of the past year was over $22,000 to purchase 80 laptops for local students who were unable to learn from home because of the lack of a household computers.

Our goal is to provide clients with the skills they need to earn more in their chosen fields of endeavor or to support them in the pursuit of entirely new work paths. We also do all we can to make certain that kids of clients don’t have to drop out of school or 

It’s all about self-suffiency. We catch new clients up on their rents or utilities or heat and then, once they are stabliized, we work with them to determine how to improve their situations so they never need us again.
My Friend, Gennie
By now word is out that Gennie Moran is leaving us at the end of this year.
Gennie and I have worked shoulder to shoulder for several years now and her exit feels like the end of an era. She has brought a wealth of compassion and common sense to our clients. She is nurturing without being enabling. She helps them get back on their feet and then she challenges and supports them in creating better lives. 

She offers me generational assistance when I can’t get the computer to work. She remembers everyone’s birthday and she actually gives a damn. She makes me laugh. She loves kids and showers them with attention and affection. She is a rock when the ship is riding rough waters..

She will hate this photo but I like it. We are sharing a laugh. We have shared lots of laughs over the years. 

We have also shared heart breaks, illnesses, the loss of dearly loved volunteers, the successes of our clients, and a dedication to this organization and its mission that has touched the lives of thousands of people from Harwich to Provincetown.
Happy trails, Gennie. It won’t be the same without you.
Where Are Our Food Pantries Exactly?
If someone approaches you because they know you’re involved with LCOC and they ask you where to find the pantry in their town, here’s a handy list for referral:

Brewster – Brewster Baptist Church

Chatham – St. Christopher’s Church
          Chatham Elementary School

Eastham – United Methodist Church

Harwich – St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
Orleans – United Methodist Church

Provincetown – United Methodist Church

Truro – Community Center

Wellfleet – Grace Chapel Assembly
of God

Main Food Warehouse – LCOC headquarters in Orleans.
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