Give thanks for all who give so much
Judy’s Produce Pantry closed for the season on Tuesday but the closing was more of a celebration for what the pantry has come to stand for — people who care for others with warmth and kindness, precisely what we should be celebrating during this week of Thanksgiving.
Throughout the summer, Tuesday afternoons in the church’s Sunshine Room, the finest in fresh fruits and vegetables grown by Cape Elizabeth farmers and families were made available to individuals and families who couldn’t always afford such basic healthy foods.
On this final Tuesday, however, instead of collecting carrots, beets and spinach, clients of the pantry were each presented with a hand-decorated bag filled with foods for Thanksgiving, including cranberry sauce, stuffing, cans of pumpkin and fresh apples.
A total of 30 bags were prepared for Tuesday’s Thanksgiving giving and clients also were given the opportunity to choose from a table filled with homemade cranberry and pumpkin breads, other holiday treats, and a cranberry chutney prepared by Jane LaPlante, the daughter of Judy Simonds for whom the pantry is named. The special event was organized by Cape Elizabeth’s Nancy Miles, who also organizes the pantry throughout the season with the help of other Cape residents and two representatives from the church, Linda Wakefield and Nancy Johnson.
The hand-decorated Thanksgiving bags were the special gift from three Girl Scout troops, led by Julie Lefebvre, Laura Young Connelly and Carey Rasco.
As it has been with every Tuesday afternoon at the pantry, clients also could select from a shelf filled with non-perishable items, donated by members of the church.
And beyond the wonderful gifts from Judy’s Produce Pantry, Tuesday’s giving also included special offerings from a food drive organized by Cape Elizabeth’s Jen Tinsman, the granddaughter-in-law of the church’s Ginny Jordan, who passed away earlier this year.
Jen and her helpers delivered 15 boxes of Thanksgiving food to the pantry to be given to more of the clients who came to the church on Tuesday. Using her barn as a staging area, Jen collected more than 100 boxes of food from Cape families.
In addition to the 15 boxes that went to the pantry, 15 boxes were delivered to three Cape schools, 10 went to My Sister’s Keeper, and 65-plus went to Opportunity Alliance (PROP).
Thank you to Nancy Mills, Jen Tinsman, all of Nancy’s and Jen’s helpers, and all of the Cape families who donated Thanksgiving cheer for making this a season to give thanks for people who sincerely care.
Even though Judy’s Produce Pantry officially closed for the season on Tuesday, it will reopen for one day on Tuesday, Dec. 11 to present clients with bags of non-perishable items to be used through the holiday season.
Non-perishable items collected from church members will continue to be used throughout the winter on a special needs basis for individuals and families who request them. Nancy Miles is coordinating this effort with Rev. Ruth Morrison of our church.
If you can donate non-perishable items, continue to leave them by Grace at the front entrance to the church.
Judy’s Produce Pantry is named to honor the memory of Judy Simonds, whose passion was gardening. Judy had been a Cape resident since 1971 before passing away in 2010.