Why are you raising money?
Damien’s Place Family Pantry is embarking on a desperately needed project to build a new pantry in Wareham, MA to house food assistance programs for families and the communities we serve. Our current location is no longer suitable for many reasons:
Space/Choice: There is not enough space available at our current location to offer a true food choice pantry as recommended by the Greater Boston Food Bank. We also have no room to provide a waiting/play space for families or a private space for families to receive private counseling from community partner organizations. We are also unable to accept large donations and the lack of adequate storage space has raised our food costs due to missed opportunities to optimize bulk purchasing options.
Safety: Our currently location is in close proximity to an unprotected and unfenced active railroad line and has limited parking presenting safety hazards for our guests and volunteers both in and outside the structure. Guest intake also takes place in a rented storage unit that has no shelter and open to rain and snow. These examples are set in a backdrop where our services to families have been expanding in these challenging times.
Accessibility: Despite our many years of service at our current location, new guests and volunteers cannot find us. This only exacerbates the challenges for the community in need of our convenient and necessary services. The hazards and inequities inherent in our current location grossly underrepresent our commitment to serving our guests in a dignified manner.
Where and what are you building?
Our new location will be at the corner of Marion and Swifts Beach Road in Wareham, MA. It is a 5000 square foot, open space/open floorplan Pantry with two private offices, natural lighting, and ample warehouse space. The new space will enable us to improve our current level of service in numerous ways focusing on empowering our guests by providing healthy food in a choice environment that resembles a corner market. Our new location will also allow us to provide community partner space for information and programming that will help guests find the additional services they need. The Pantry will be in a strategic location, available to meet the needs of all the rural, suburban, and urban communities in the region.
When did you break ground?
Land clearing should begin by the end of May 2023!
When do you expect to be operating out of the new Pantry?
If the project breaks ground as scheduled, the hope is that we will be operating out of our new site by November 2023, again contingent on town approvals and supply chain issues.
Why is this project important?
Damien’s, along with the Pantries across the country, are in the midst of a hunger crisis. We play a critical role in food security for so many vulnerable groups, here in our local community, in New Bedford and around the SouthCoast. 16% of our clients are seniors and another 35% are children. We know that hunger is an economic issue, but it carries with it severe and long-lasting physiological, psychological, and behavioral problems if left unaddressed. While Damien’s is making steady progress to alleviate food insecurity, much work needs to be done.
Our new facility will more than double our existing space, and increase our capacity to reach even more families. In addition, we will be able to offer space for a community garden and innovative and educational programs to foster long-term sustainability.
How much is does the project cost and how much has been raised?
Our goal is big – $2,200,000 – but if these last few years have taught us anything, it’s to dream big, work hard, and persevere!
We are so close to achieving what was only a dream for so long – finding a forever home for Damien’s and becoming a “community pantry” who partners with other organizations in the fight against hunger and food insecurity for thousands in our area. And here we are! The land has been donated, designs have been drawn, and an incredible team of volunteers are assembled to help support this project and raise the necessary funds to bring this project to fruition.
So far, over $1.52M has already been donated but our project needs your help to close the remaining gap.
Will there be service interruptions?
Absolutely NOT! Damien’s will continue serving guests out of our current location until our new location is ready. Communication will happen all along the way to make sure guests can find us.