When she needed help feeding her family, Crickett turned to the Falmouth Service Center on Cape Cod, one of the many food pantry programs supported by the Walk for Hunger.
Your support of Project Bread's Walk for Hunger provides food for Massachusetts residents and families who are hungry today, while working to break the cycle of hunger through advocacy, education, and systems change. The 2019 Walk for Hunger is on May 5 on Boston Common—Register or donate today!
Crickett sat at the computer with her finger hovering over the mouse. Her eyes skimmed across the words on the screen. Just bringing herself to write the email had taken weeks, and now came the hardest part – hitting send. She was frozen. She just couldn’t bring herself to ask for help. After a long minute, she pushed away from the desk. She could wait, she thought, something would come through soon.
After Crickett’s divorce she poured her energy—and savings—into making a viable business to support her family. But like many small business owners on Cape Cod, the seasonal economy—driven primarily by summer tourism—proved too big an obstacle. She was forced to close up shop and look for a job elsewhere, which proved to be a difficult task.
Crickett had volunteered at the Falmouth Service Center for years and had gotten to know the Center’s Assistant Director who had a son the same age as hers. She went back to the computer. Winter employment opportunities are sparse on the Cape. And even with a college degree, the 15 years Crickett had spent out of the workforce to raise her three boys was making the job search nearly impossible.
The email was simple: “I’m struggling right now and I need some help.”
“I can still remember my finger on the button, pressing send,” Crickett recalls. And just like that, the tides were shifting.
Asking for help is often one of the hardest parts. Many people, like Crickett, can hardly bring themselves to do it. The more Crickett’s finances got worse, the more she retreated from people. Pride, embarrassment, false hope, thinking there's someone else who needs it more… there are countless reasons that keep people from reaching out.
But Crickett had no choice. She finally went to the Falmouth Service Center, this time, as a client.
“To be on the other side and see people that I had volunteered with and having to say, ‘I’m here for a different reason’ was really hard for me. But the compassion, acceptance, and tenderness (without pity, that would have pushed me over the edge) was tremendous.” She walked out the doors of FSC with fuel assistance, cash assistance for rent, and bags of groceries. Within a week she had a full-time job, and six weeks later, she no longer needed support from the Service Center. She was back on her feet.
But life on Cape Cod is still challenging for many permanent residents, and Crickett is no exception. She rents a small house during the winter months but come summer, the rent jumps to $2,700 per week. Other homes on the Cape are rented during the summer for as much as $3,500-$7,000 a week, and they're booked solid. Crickett vacates her home in summer and lives out of a house float on the water, rowing to shore every day. This past summer she saw a man living out of his truck.
Shaking her head, Crickett shares, “The average home on the Cape sells for $1 million. Most of us who live here and work regular jobs can’t afford to live here.”
Crickett shares her story in the hopes of empowering other people to ask for help when they need it. Learn what you can do to help Raise the Issue of hunger in Massachusetts.
In 2018, as part of Project Bread's 50th Celebration Community Investments, we invested $55,600 to increase access to healthy food for residents living in Cape Cod.
A number to call for help
Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333) is a state-wide resource for people who need food assistance. This year, the Hotline responded to nearly 30,000 calls from residents across Massachusetts needing help, 640 of which were from Cape Cod.
Supporting Community Partners
Through our Community Grants Program, Project Bread invested $42,600 in supporting nine community programs on Cape Cod, including the Falmouth Service Center that provided support to Joe. The funds for these grants are largely made possible through our flagship community fundraiser, Project Bread's Walk for Hunger.