Fresh produce available weekly
Judy’s Pantry is open every Tuesday from early summer until Thanksgiving in the church’s Sunshine Room from 3-5 p.m. The rest of the year, the pantry is open on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, also from 3-5 p.m.
The pantry is open, free of charge, to Cape Elizabeth residents who have limited resources and are struggling to eat healthy food — no paperwork, no questions asked. Participants include those on Social Security or disability fixed incomes, single parents with children, large families with a number of children, and those who have lost jobs or have high medical expenses. Many have special diets requiring low salt, fat, sugar and gluten-free.
Judy’s 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. The pantry has been operating in the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church since the summer of 2010.
Produce donations come from several Cape farms and two community gardens in the Cape — one at Gull Crest and the other at Maxwell’s Farm on Spurwink Ave. Both gardens participate in the Maine Harvest for Hunger program. There are two plots at each garden that gardeners take care of and harvest each week for donations to the pantry. Additional donations come from other gardeners’ plots, as well as from some Cape residents.
Produce from the Community gardens, Imelda’s Garden, Alewives Brook Farm, Green Spark Farm, and Jordan’s Farm are harvested on Mondays and stored in the cooler at Jordan’s Farm before it is picked up on Tuesday’s for the Pantry.
The pantry is helping 25-30 Cape families each week. In addition to the fresh produce, non-perishable items also are available. These items are supplied by:
- Members of the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church
- Resident donations in the Lions Club’s box in the IGA lobby and at the church
Food products also are purchased with funds donated by:
- The Cape Lions Club
- The South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary
- Members of the Cape Business Alliance
- And from generous local residents.
Non-perishable items include soups, pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter, rice, canned tuna and chicken, juices, salad dressings, and canned fruit. Also available some weeks are paper products, cleaning supplies and pet food.
To help decide how best to use the wide selection of fresh produce, recipes are occasionally available when the pantry is open on Tuesday afternoons.
In season, fresh cut flowers also are available.
The fresh produce is delivered to the pantry early each Tuesday afternoon and then prepared for display by a team of volunteers from the community and church, led by Nancy Miles.
The pantry offered special selections in 2012 for Thanksgiving and Christmas. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, special grocery bags, designed by three Cape Girl Scout troops, were filled with foods for the holiday, including cranberry sauce, stuffing, cans of pumpkin and fresh apples, carrots, onions and potatoes. Also available that day were pumpkin and cranberry breads, cranberry chutney and some other holiday treats.
The pantry opened again just before Christmas, offering clients a wide selection of canned goods, non-perishable items and even some Christmas wreaths.
After Christmas, the pantry was open on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month until early summer, when it again was open every Tuesday.
For Tuesday afternoons from late June through Thanksgiving of 2012, just under 5,000 pounds of produce were donated to the pantry from the community gardens, farms, and home gardens. It was from those donations that individuals were able to go home each week and provide their families with healthy meals.
Thank you to the farmers, gardeners and pantry volunteers who have meant so much to so many!
If you would like to donate non-perishable grocery products to Judy’s Produce Pantry, bring them to the church (280 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth) any week-day or Sunday morning and leave them in the pantry shopping cart inside the front entrance or in the basket by the side door near the chapel.
Thank you for your support!