For the fifth week in a row, Food Baskets MV handed out 14,200 pounds of food in a little more than an hour at Good Shepherd Parish Center Saturday, according to Joe Capobianco, an organizer of the food give away.
Capobianco did not yet have the number of people served, but each week the program becomes a little more efficient. After a line of cars snaked all the way to Our Market last week, Capobianco got permission from the town to close School Street and cue the car lineup in the Oak Grove Cemetery.
“It worked great,” he said. Capobianco isn’t sure how many people may have been turned away. “We had to stop at some point because we had no food left.” At one point on Saturday, Capobianco estimated 300 cars had been served.
Capobianco went off-Island Monday to get 4,000 pounds of food in Harwich and on Friday to get 10,200 pounds from the Greater Boston Food Bank. With the food bank closed for Monday’s Patriot’s Day, Capobianco is bringing two trucks to Boston to pick up 14,000 pounds for next Saturday’s giveaway from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Valerio DeStefani of Bite on the Go has offered to use his truck to help, Capobianco said.
“We’re not limited on weight,” he said. “We’re limited by how much the truck can hold.”
So what did yesterday’s families get in their shopping bags? “We try to give them a full meal,” he said. On Saturday that included a chicken, a pork tenderloin, frozen vegetables, strawberries, bread, eggs, milk, potatoes. and onions.
That’s more than one meal. “We’re trying to do it so it’s a couple of meals because we can only do this once a week,” Capobianco said. “Without the volunteers, I can’t do this.”
Those volunteers numbered about 20 on Saturday. They’re all wearing masks and gloves and social distancing as much as humanly possible with all the bag filling and distribution. They put the bags right in the car.
Speaking of bags, that’s an issue for Capobianco. While Stop & Shop has given him some, he could use more — cheap. Plastic would be the best because the paper bags break easily.
On Saturday, with the rainy miserable weather, Tilton Tents came through with a tent at a discounted cost, which is being covered by the church. The tent will be up through the end of May, which is how long Food Baskets MV plans to continue, he said.
“The volunteers all want to come back next week,” Capobianco said. “It really makes them feel good.”
A website has been launched to inform the public about the proper protocols for food pick up and so potential volunteers and bag donors can reach out, thefoodbasketsmv.org.
Capobianco also shared a drone video from the previous week that gives a bird’s eye view of the operation.