Helping Hand Food Pantry

BREAKING NEWS: FOOD PANTRY IS GOING TO A ONCE-A-MONTH SCHEDULE IN FEBRUARY!

The Helping Hand Food Pantry, located at 364 Rindge Ave., the middle of the three tall towers at Fresh Pond, has been up against some serious challenges in the last month. Our storage closet in the community room where we meet has had a persistent leak, destroying large amounts of food. The leaks have caused us to have to close unpredictably, and finally made it impossible to order and distribute food right before Christmas. Though by the end of the first week of January the leak had been superficially fixed, personnel with the Schochet Co., the management company at 364 Rindge, cannot promise it won’t happen again. In the meantime, our clientele, unable to count on the food distribution, has declined. In addition, Yvette Fraticelli, who took over very capably as Acting Director from the Rev. Dr. Karen Coleman in November when Karen took a position at Boston University Chaplaincy, completes her acting directorship at the end of January.

The Vestry contemplated this perfect storm of food pantry challenges at their December meeting with the help of several folks from our team of Food Pantry Board members and Food Ministry Volunteers. The Vestry came to the conclusion that it made sense at this point to close down the three-day-a-week pantry when Yvette completes her January commitment and focus our resources on calling a Life Together Fellow to join us next summer and begin a focused, 30-hour-a-week community organizing project on food ministry with us, in anticipation of our new parish house construction, working not just with the St. James’s congregation, but with our surrounding community, the Fresh Pond immigrant community, and the other food-ministry folks around the cities of Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville and Watertown to discern the most fruitful approach for us to answer God’s call to address food insecurity and the potential for community partnership. 

Because we are the only food pantry in North Cambridge and because of the deep investment of our Food Ministry Volunteers in offering food to those in need, the Volunteers have responded to the Vestry’s resolution by committing to keep the Pantry open ONE SATURDAY A MONTH, piloting this through the spring to see how successfully they can manage the dynamics of publicity, food ordering and delivery, as well as the Saturday distribution itself. They chose the dates of Feb. 11th, Mar. 11th, April 8th, May 13th and June 10th   and July 8th for this pilot project. Our Scout Collective 56 is already signed up for the Feb. 11th and June 10th Saturdays, but the Food Ministries Team will need Saturday distribution-and-clean-up help from more in the congregation. JT Kittredge will be our Lead Organizer and Food Orderer, John Bell will be the Saturday Team Leader and volunteer organizer, and Jenny Grassl will assist with publicity. Please let John Bell know at j.frederick.bell@gmail.com if you can help on one of the Saturdays above. We’re anticipating continuing to order from Greater Boston Food Bank and take delivery on the Friday before the Pantry Saturday. Volunteers are needed on Fridays from 11AM - 2PM. On Saturdays, volunteers are needed from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 11:00AM - 1:00PM to prepare and distribute groceries. The pantry opens to guests at 11 AM and closes at 1 PM.

Of course, unexpired and unopened food donation from St. James's parishioners are ALWAYS appreciated!  Just bring them to the big baskets below the chancel steps and we’ll make sure they get to the Pantry! 

Food Pantry Location

During St. James’s redevelopment, the Food Pantry is located at the Fresh Pond Apartments, 364 Rindge Avenue (the middle of the three tall towers) in Cambridge, 02140.

Food Pantry Hours Through January, 2017

Second Saturday of the Month: 11am-1pm: Open to all

Anyone wishing to use the pantry must bring an MA Identification Card or Driver’s License. T-passes and EBT cards will not be accepted.

Volunteers needed!

Volunteers are much needed. If you are interested in helping out, please contact John Bell at j.frederick.bell@gmail.com.

Donating food

The Helping Hand Food Pantry gladly accepts donations of unexpired canned and packaged foods. Cans should be undented and unrusted, and package foods unopened. Please check expiration dates before donating, as expired items can’t be distributed and must be thrown away.

Food donations can be dropped off at our location, 364 Rindge Avenue, during the following hours: 

Tuesdays:     12:30 - 1:30pm

Thursdays:    11:00am - 12:00pm

Saturdays:     10am - 11am  

Please let the security guard know that you are there to drop off food donations. We are sorry that at this time we cannot accept food donations at the St. James’s office.  We appreciate your support to this very vital ministry!

Please note: You can send checks made out to St. James's Episcopal Church with "Helping Hand Food Pantry" on the memo line and 100% of that money will go directly for food supplies for the Pantry!

 

Click here to listen to Michelle Holcomb's address on Food for Free at the Alewife Deanery Assembly on January 16th, 2014. 

Food Pantry Study