June - July 2020
I send you warmest greetings, concern and caring during this time of such upheaval.
In the midst of this new-order due to the pandemic, arises again the 401 year old cry for
racial justice in our country - newly urgent in the face of yet another police torture and
murder of a Black American. How long, Lord, how long.....
I am so moved by the committed actions of brothers and sisters across color, age, class and geographical lines taking to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter; that we can no longer tolerate brutality; that we must dismantle systemic racism; that we need to recognize undeserved privilege that blinds to the oppression and injustice so many experience. In talking with our young people, I am struck by their knowledge about the issues, their demand for constructive changes, and the discipline with which they are protesting. For many, this is a daily endeavor – every day they are on the streets calling out the names: George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the hundreds before them. They do this from a need to acknowledge the toll that racism takes daily on the safety, health and well-being of our Black, Brown, Tribal and Latinx neighbors, and what racism daily steals away in achieving the “beloved community” (MLK, Jr.).
It is heartbreaking to take a breath and try to sing “Happy Birthday’ to Breanna Taylor
on what should have been her 27 th birthday. Heartbreaking to witness the deep grief of
the Floyd and Arbery families as they gasp for breath, knowing their loved ones could
Those who have given or witnessed birth know the anticipation of that first breath. The
utter joy in that moment. And those who have sat a death vigil know that most sacred
time when waiting for the last breath. Breath. In Greek, breath is known as “ Pneuma;
to breathe, blow, primarily denotes the wind. Breath; the spirit which, like the wind, is
invisible, immaterial, and powerful” (The Complete Word Study New Testament). In
Latin it is “spiritus” “a breathing, breath, breath of God” (etynonline). The same word
used for Holy Spirit. Here is the intersection of the sacred and human. In and out.
Each moment of each day, human breathing is our piece of the Divine. From birth to
death, something we all share as living beings.
Please let us breathe. Sit and breathe. Kneel and breathe for 8:46 minutes. Stand up
and breathe – deeply. Then together let us gather our collective breath and get to work
anew celebrating and protecting the divine breath in all of us.
photo credit: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Barnstable No Place For Hate: A Call To Action
The Barnstable No Place for Hate steering committee, with clergy and representatives from people of all faith and backgrounds, call for our leaders and representatives in Massachusetts to address issues of racial injustice and bigotry embodied in our state services and healthcare systems. Most of these injustices are not unique to the pandemic. However, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain and laid bare the systemic and cultural weaknesses of our society. The impact of the pandemic has been inordinately skewed, hitting at risk populations, the elderly and minorities much harder than the more privileged parts of our society. The true measure of a free society is not how well the well-off do, but how well its most fragile members of society are cared for. We believe we can do better than we have. We believe all members of our community should be afforded the privilege of high-quality healthcare befitting a country as wealthy as ours...click here to read the full statement.
Attention all Clergy! Most Reverend Edgar M. Da Cunha, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River, invites Clergy and Religious Leaders from throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands to pray together for an end to racism and its many injustices.
AN INTERFAITH PRAYER SERVICE FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
will be held at the Cathedral Church of St. Mary, on the corner of
Spring and Second Street in Fall River
Sunday, June 14th, 2020 at 3:00 PM.
Click here for further details.
The following links contain some of the responses of churches and other religious organizations to this time of national upheaval. Please note that it is not an exhaustive list.
This Perilous Moment
A statement from religious leaders and communities on the crisis of racial injustice and inequity amid the current protests.
U.S. Bishops in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests
A statement issued by seven U.S. bishop chairmen of committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Racial Justice in the USA
A statement by the executive committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, expressing its support and Christian solidarity with all U.S. churches pursuing racial justice.
A Message of Faith and Hope
A message from an association of Christians and Jews at centers and institutes in the United States and Canada who are dedicated to teaching and promoting mutual understanding between our communities.
Calling for an Economy of Life in a Time of Pandemic
A joint statement by the World Council of Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, and the Council for World Mission on the coronavirus.
Resources for Responding to Racist Violence
In this time of national upheaval, outrage, and fear, The Episcopal Church’s Department of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care and the Office of Government Relations have assembled resources to assist individuals, congregations and communities seeking to LEARN, PRAY and ACT.
The Council of Churches is privileged to be a "front-line" service provider in many areas and to offer what are considered "essential services" under the directive issued by Gov. Baker in March. To protect the health of all, we have moved to remote operations where possible. We continue to feed our neighbors at both our Hands of Hope Food Pantry and our Faith Family Kitchen using "to go" formats. And we continue to make diapers, wipes and formula available for existing clients of A Baby Center.
Cape Cod Family Table Collaborative
With the Covid-19 pandemic comes increasing need. The Council of Churches has responded, forming new collaborations with other agencies to expand reach and effectiveness in providing services to broader populations within our community. The Cape Cod Family Table Collaborative is a partnership between the ACF (American Culinary Federation of Cape Cod), the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator, the Council's Faith Family Kitchen and Jeni’s Joy, and is designed as a rapid response unit to help feed families and seniors in need as a response to Covid-19. We distribute professionally home cooked, nutritious and delicious meals and soups, via a refrigerated truck every Tuesday and Friday from 4-6 pm. The truck has been in Hyannis on Fridays, and in rotating locations on Tuesdays (Falmouth, Sandwich and Harwich to date). You can find the meal distribution locations on Tuesdays and Fridays on the Council's Facebook page.
Listen to FFK's Chef Jeni Wheeler speak about the Cape Cod Family Table Collaborative in an interview that aired Sunday June 7 with Cape Cod Broadcasting Media.
This June, we wish to thank our volunteers!
As we are keenly aware, the work of the Council would simply not be possible without our many caring volunteers who give so generously of their time. At no point in the Council's 60 year history has this been more apparent than during this time of COVID-19, Concern for their health and safety prompted many of our volunteers to make the difficult decision to abide by the stay-at-home advisory as the virus spread locally in mid-March. We are thankful to all for acting in the welfare of the larger community. A small, dedicated group of people are continuing to help provide the Council's services over the past few months. They have put themselves at the "front lines" of our own front lines, preparing and distributing meals at Faith Family Kitchen, groceries at Hands of Hope and diapers, wipes and formula at A Baby Center. We are deeply grateful for your help as we have navigated these new waters. We truly could not do it without you! We are no less grateful for our longstanding volunteers; we are indebted to you and look forward to the time when we can resume regular Council operations and again have you side by side.
We already know that this coming summer of COVID-19 is going to be a new experience for us all, with gatherings restricted in size and travel options limited. But for many in our local community, this summer will be all too similar to previous years. Already limited housing becomes even harder and more expensive to secure; food budgets evaporate as paying for shelter becomes the most pressing priority; longer hours are picked up at work to cover these rising costs, and the vicious cycle continues.
The Council is a key supporter of people who struggle to make ends meet here on the Cape and Islands year-round, but our support becomes even more essential in the summer. Would you be able to join us in our work by making a donation for these summer months? We can accept gifts through our website, or by check mailed to 320 Main St, Hyannis MA 02601. Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission of Serving God by Serving Others.
Donate to help your neighbors
A Baby Center, Hyannis
A Baby Center, Nantucket
A Baby Center Hyannis offers “To Go” bags of baby essentials for existing clients on Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. This is a “drive up window” service only; no clients are to enter the building. A Baby Center is located at 81 Willow Ave, Hyannis. For diapers, wipes and formula, clients may come once every 30 days. Not a client yet? No worries, please ask for a new client form. Email Robin Hayward at email@example.com or message her through A Baby Center's Facebook page.
A Baby Center Nantucket continues to serve our Island clients by providing diapers and wipes, also in a "To Go" format. ABC continues to ship diapers, wipes and formula to Nantucket, where they are accepted by a thankful community! Thank you to Elise Norton of the Nantucket Family Resource Center for her help in distributing baby essentials to our Island neighbors. Nantucket Family Resource Center has been very helpful in this time when travel to the Island was discouraged. We are so thankful for their partnership!
Together, ABC has given out over 75,000 diapers since March. As a community we have changed a lot of diapers!!
Community support has been wonderful and our regular sponsors and donors have been very generous! Because of the community's generosity, we were able to support a brand new young mom care for her preemie baby by sending three packages of extremely hard to find preemie diapers right to her door. This mom was overwhelmed with gratitude and said “It was more than she could ever ask for.” This ability to fulfill our mission epitomizes what the Council and A Baby Center stand for.
We are looking forward to a future when we can all be together again soon!
Program Director, A Baby Center
ABC is in need of cash donations to continue purchasing in gross and providing infant essentials, namely diapers, wipes and formula. Parents have a long road to go to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Please help if you are in a position to do so. Gifts can be made online at ABC's website, or by check, mailed to the Council's address at 320 Main St., Hyannis. Donations of goods such as clothing, toys, supplies etc. are not being accepted at this time. We will not be accepting these items until we reopen. Thank you for understanding.
We are thankful for donations from the following organizations and private groups:
The United Way
The Cape Cod Times Needy Fund
The Nantucket Emergency Relief Fund
Cape Cod Healthcare
The Hunger Project
The COOP Bank
The National Diaper Bank Network
The Rotary of Hyannis
The Rotary of Chatham
The Rotary of Yarmouth
The Rotary of Sandwich and Bourne
The Sandwich Women’s Club
The Mashpee Women’s Club
Faith Family Kitchen
Faith Family Kitchen continues to provide nutritious dinners on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. At the door, families and other adults are given a "To Go" bag containing Jeni's homemade soup and dinner plus a few supplemental items. No guest is to enter the Kitchen dining room or use the Kitchen bathrooms during regular service hours. Faith Family Kitchen is located at Faith Assembly of God, 154 Bearse’s Way, Hyannis.
FFK has partnered with The American Culinary Federation of Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator to form the Cape Cod Family Table Collaborative, which is making and distributing several thousand portions a week to families and seniors in need. This was made possible through connections with the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Cape Codder Resort and Spa, which offered the use of its kitchen and the expertise of its culinary team, led by Steve Higgins, to create all of the meals. Recently, meal prep operations shifted to Camp Wingate✰Kirkland, where Joseph Ellia is the in-house Chef. All of the soup is made by Jeni at FFK, and the refrigerated trucks to transfer the food to distribution points are provided by the Lobster Trap and Guaranteed Fresh Produce and Dairy. Meal Distributions happen each Tuesday and Friday afternoon from 4-6 pm at various upper Cape and mid Cape locations. See the Council's Facebook page for weekly schedules.
No one knows when this crisis will end, but we stand ready to answer the call of the community in any way we can. I always say that love is our secret ingredient, and everyone seems to need a little extra of that right now.
Executive Chef and Program Director, Faith Family Kitchen
Hands of Hope Food Pantry and Outreach Center
Hands of Hope continues to accept food donations at its pantry. We ask that all donations be handled masked and gloved. If you feel safe going to the grocery store, the following items are especially needed now:
Canned meat, Spam, Chili, Stew
Hamburger or Tuna Helper
In April, over 100 $25 gift cards for grocery purchases were mailed to our 102 Senior clients who could not come to the pantry for take out groceries. The contribution of these gift cards was an enormous help to so many.
Thank you to all our volunteers and generous donors who make our work possible during this challenging time! Everyone receiving food is truly grateful.
Program Director, Hands of Hope Food Pantry and Outreach Center
Youth StreetReach, Homeless Ministries
Marilyn Larivier, YSR Director
Youth StreetReach has temporarily suspended its in person programming due to health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19. In the meantime, YSR and the Council have been working in conjunction with Duffy Health Center to help provide clothes, flip flops and other supplies for clients using portable showers which have been provided by MEMA. These showers have been a valuable resource for our local homeless community during a time when regular access to facilities has been restricted.
Marilyn is sad to share the news that our beloved "egg man", Rev. Bob Richardson, passed away on May 28. Please join in prayer for him, his wife Carol and family.
We are also sorry to say that Marilyn broke her wrist in mid-May. She is recovering at home and welcomes prayers for both herself and Ed.
Prayers for healing, Marilyn!
Covenant to Care for Foster Families
Thank you to all the wonderful people who are fostering children. It is quite a challenge
and we are blessed by their willingness to help in a very tangible way. We may not all be able to foster children but we can help those who do. Are there foster families in your faith community? Would you like to help nurture a family? These folks are very busy and I am sure that they would be grateful for a home cooked meal, chocolate chip cookies or perhaps a pizza night. Covenant to Care for Foster Families would be happy to work with you by providing ideas and ways to give support to the family. Please email Miriam Erickson the Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her directly at 508-450-1080. Thank you.
Program Director, Covenant to Care
Other Council News
You may be wondering how you can help...
As the Council continues our models of "To Go" only, and as we are living into these new protocols, needs for assistance are becoming clear. Many have already kindly reached out to ask how to be of help. Please see the following suggestions.
Ways to Help:
1) Unrestricted Donations. Already, we are seeing an increase in demand for services this week as families are grappling with job insecurity or loss. As this situation unfolds, tax deductible donations in any amount made out to the Cape Cod Council of Churches grant us the maximum flexibility to meet needs as they evolve. Please consider sending a check to our address: 320 Main Street Hyannis, MA 02601, or make a donation online through the PayPal link on our website, www.CapeCodCouncilofChurches.org. Because we can purchase most of our supplies in bulk, we can stretch your dollars.
2) Non-Medical Grade Face Masks for our front-line staff and volunteers and clients.
We appreciate donations of washable or disposable face masks that are not of medical grade (any N-95 face masks should please be donated to Cape Cod Healthcare). We want to keep our staff and volunteers as safe as possible. We need about 50 masks per week. Please contact Edye Nesmith at email@example.com if you can help.
3) Gift Cards in amounts of $25 or more. Gift cards allow clients to purchase additional food, gas or other necessary household items that we cannot otherwise provide and that are not covered by SNAP benefits (ex: toilet paper - if you can find it!). Certain grocery store gift cards allow people to order grocery delivery, which is a huge help as people need to stay in their homes. We can mail these cards to known clients who cannot or should not come to the Food Pantry. Gift cards can be ordered online through retailers' websites from the safety of your home, so this is a great way to offer assistance to others. Please mail these cards to the Council office, 320 Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601. In April, Hands of Hope Food Pantry mailed over 100 $25 gift cards for grocery purchases to their 102 Senior clients who could not come to the pantry for take out groceries. The contribution of these gift cards was an enormous help to so many.
4) Formula for babies and White Tall 13 Gal. Plastic Trash bags. A Baby Center is in need of Similac and/or Enfamil in any flavor to distribute to families in need. Without sufficient stock, parents often must dilute what the baby receives, which means inadequate nutrition. We are using the trash bags to pack up diapers and wipes for "to go" distribution to our existing clients. Please drop off donations outside the door to A Baby Center on Wednesdays ONLY between 10am - 12pm. All donations should be handled masked and gloved. ABC is located behind the Federated Church, Hyannis, at 81 Willow Ave, Hyannis. Please note that A Baby Center is not accepting any other donations of baby clothing or equipment at this time.
5) Commercial Sized Food Wraps, Paper Bags and New “To Go” Containers. Faith Family Kitchen needs bulk quantities of new, non-spill, lidded quart and pint-sized containers for our "To Go" model of dinners for individuals and families who are coping with food insecurity. Additionally, we need sturdy paper grocery bags in bulk. Please email Chef Jeni Wheeler if you can offer these, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) Bulk Quantities of Fresh Produce or Meats. Please consider donating unused bulk quantities of fresh meats and quality produce to Faith Family Kitchen. We will then turn these into nutritional soups/stews for our diners. Please be in touch with Chef Jeni Wheeler, email@example.com.
7) Prayers. Prayers for all as we work to support one another through committed partnership.
Please direct any concerns or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued care of one another. Together, and with your help, we'll see each other through.
During this COVID-19 crisis, you may be depending on Amazon for some essentials. Consider adding the Council as your preferred charity on AmazonSmile. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Click on the button below to get started, and thank you!
Donate to help your neighbors
The Alzheimer’s Family Support Center (AFSC)
is a local, grassroots 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping families navigate the twists and turns of the Alzheimer’s journey from pre-diagnosis
to bereavement and all of life that happens in between. We provide a variety of free services in every town on Cape Cod, including family and individual consultations, support groups, educational programs, memory screens, and social and cultural events. Throughout this time of pandemic, we have continued providing services by running a home office and relocating staff at home to safely provide virtual services.
Support groups are now up online with over 16 groups weekly and more being added rapidly. Family and individual consultations are more needed than ever, happening now by telephone and online. We are currently scheduling virtual sessions of our highly-regarded "Savvy Caregiver" training sessions. This six-session course provides caregivers with the skills and knowledge they need to provide the highest level of care for loved ones, as well as for themselves. For further details, please go to the AFSC's website.
Cape Cod Healthcare is looking for blood donors!
The Cape Cod Healthcare Blood Program continues to need blood. It’s important for people to know the coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure donor safety at all times. Please click here for dates, times and locations.
What’s donated here stays here to help your family, friends and neighbors.
Great news - Cape Cod Children’s Place is continuing to offer programming to strengthen and support families throughout the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, through its FIRST Steps Together Program.
The FIRST Steps Team offers community connected services for families and continues to actively seek referrals. These services include specialized home visiting and community-based recovery and parenting support for families impacted by substance use. The FIRST Steps Team offers telehealth, virtual support groups, focused on wellness, recovery assistance, parenting, and “drop and go” supplies.
For more information, please click here.
Families for Justice as Healing is an organization, right here in MA, that is dedicated to the well-being of women, families and communities that are decimated by incarceration, injustice, and racism. They are having a panel discussion with formerly incarcerated women and women with incarcerated loved ones "Building Up People Not Prisons Symposium" that will be held on ZOOM on Monday, June 15th at 7pm.
Families for Justice as Healing wants to inform and educate and gain potential allies when they ask for clemency, medical release, parole, changes in laws, etc. etc. But ultimately, hope to create a huge support network for women as they leave jail and prison, and also so that they don't need to go to jail or prison to begin with. The last symposium created awareness of job opportunities in the trades for women in the western part of MA.
For more information and to register (required): tinyurl.com/june15symposium
Any trouble with registering, please email: email@example.com
Families for Justice as Healing Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/familiesforjusticeashealing/
Do you know of a van modified for handicapped access that is looking for a new home? The Council knows someone who could use it! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-775-5073 if you can help. Thank you!
About the Council
The Cape Cod Council of Churches serves people of all ages from Cape Cod and the Islands who are facing some of life's most difficult challenges. We have been privileged to serve our neighbors for 60 years, meeting people at their points of critical need and helping them move forward to greater stability. We are able to impact the lives of over 7,500 residents each year through the Council's six different programs and the work of over 400 volunteers. With the help of churches and our community our mission comes to life, "Serving God by Serving Others," as we offer practical assistance, spiritual support and hope - all without regard for religious affiliation.
A BABY CENTER, Hyannis
A BABY CENTER, Nantucket
Provides critical basic baby needs to income eligible families (WIC) for infants up to age four on Cape Cod and the Islands. The Hyannis Center serves over 500 babies each month. Families receive diapers, wipes, formula, gently-used clothing and other baby necessities.
COVENANT TO CARE
Matches a Cape & Islands congregation with Foster Care Families, supporting those families and the foster children in their care. This program works in partnership with the MA Dept. of Children & Families.
FAITH FAMILY KITCHEN
Provides hot, nutritious meals to our food insecure neighbors three evenings a week in Hyannis. Volunteer congregations and community groups help to prepare and serve free meals each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
HANDS OF HOPE FOOD PANTRY AND OUTREACH CENTER
Offers emergency assistance to low-income families in the mid-Cape area (Mashpee to Harwich). Assistance includes: food, clothing, small household goods and financial relief to prevent evictions.
Homeless Ministries Services
Offers short term emergency shelter for families and individuals facing homelessness.
Enables teens to interact with our homeless neighbors by serving a meal and hearing firsthand how a life's path can lead to unexpected circumstances.
Sponsors a Chaplain at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital who offers prayers, hope and comfort to patients and families in their time of illness and recovery.