With summer in full gear, Putnam Community Action Program (CAP) is facing a familiar problem of severe grocery shortages meant to help the most vulnerable residents in the county.
In a press release Friday morning, CAP issued a plea to residents to donate numerous non-food items that are taken for granted by many. With residents deviating from a normal routine with the school year at a close, it’s not uncommon for shortages to be experienced.
CAP director Judy Callahan said this is a problem the organization faces every summer because many people are away and school districts, which hold numerous grocery drives during the year, are out of session.
Food-wise, the pantry is adequate for right now, but it’s “extras” Callahan said that are in desperate need. CAP doesn’t have funding allocated for those toiletries and other necessities and instead need to rely solely on donations.
There are multiple items completely out of stock at the CAP pantry, including shampoo, bar soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, shaving cream, toothbrushes, cleaning products, laundry detergent, diapers and pull-up, and baby wipes.
While many of those things are necessities for every day life, food stamps or any government program doesn’t cover them.
The shelves and bins for these items had been getting “lower and lower” and when a resident in need came in Friday requesting something, CAP staffers realized they only had toothpaste remaining.
“We don’t always have all of those things because those are 100 percent donation,” Callahan said. “It’s not unusual for us to be out of some of those things, but it is unusual for us to be out of all of those things. We try to help where we can help.”
Other non-perishable foods that the pantry needs include cooking oil, cake mixes, ensure, baby food, coffee and tea, and condiments. Callahan noted farms are incredibly helpful in the summer for many food items.
Callahan said CAP staffers encourage needy residents to go to other pantries in the county in case CAP doesn’t have a particular item, but noted most pantries face the same difficulties during the summer.
Residents can donate items by dropping them off at CAP headquarters at 121 Main Street in Brewster. If residents don’t want to go shopping, a monetary donation can also go a long way
“And then we shop,” Callahan said.
For more information, call 845-278-8021 or visit putnamcap.com.