Food Pantry Fulfills Mission – And Then Some – On Thanksgiving

Just around the corner from the Secret Service agents protecting the leader of the free world in downtown Nantucket Wednesday afternoon, steps away from the mainland news crews debating the optics of President Biden staying in the home of a billionaire, the volunteers of the Nantucket Food Pantry were quietly going about their work. Nantucket will be called “posh” and “tony” in the national media this week, but there at the Food Pantry, the goal was simply to feed the island’s low-income residents and take on the growing food insecurity among Nantucket’s working class.

Nantucket Food Pantry manager Yeshe Palmo said the volunteers had already distributed more than 130 turkeys and all the fixings to needy island families for Thanksgiving. Thousands of pounds of produce and dry goods were distributed over the past few days ahead of the holiday. Ninety households showed up just yesterday.

The demand is reflective of the increasing food insecurity on Nantucket that was laid bare during the pandemic. For the first time this year, Nantucket Cottage Hospital identified food insecurity in its triennial community health needs assessment. It noted that “Nantucket county was identified as one of four counties that have seen their projected food insecurity rates increase by over 70.0%.”

The Community Foundation for Nantucket recently received a $1.85 million state grant that will be used to address food insecurity issues on the island. Executive director Margaretta Andrews said last month that the grant funds issued by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, will be used primarily “to address food insecurity in families and individuals resulting from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.”

Watch our interview with Yeshe Palmo this week at this link

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