One of our outstanding pantry volunteers (and expert carpenter), Jay Rogers, generously donated a beautifully-crafted, well-loved dollhouse to the Center. After a bit of creative repurposing, we're excited to announce that we've found the perfect use for it.
What had been a simple dollhouse has transformed into a new home for books from our friends at the Cambridge Public Library. Thanks to both Jay and CPL, the Center is now able to offer our community safer and easier access to library books - an invaluable resource as we continue to push through the final stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We're happy to have Nyrah, one of the Center's students, as our first library patron. We want to invite all of our community members to follow Nyrah's lead - feel free to stop by to pick up a book (or two) anytime! Our little library is located at the back of the Center (by our gymnasium doors), on the picnic benches in front of the Coast Community Fridge.
Jay's also known for his work as a carpenter and has extended his generosity by offering to help build a sliding door to protect the books from the elements. To learn more about the artistic carpentry of Jay Rogers, visit his website.
Each week, we go through hundreds of cardboard delivery boxes at the food pantry. We’re extremely grateful to to the City of Cambridge recycling teams that make multiple pick-ups here every week and to all the volunteers who help load up their trucks.
Additionally, it's thanks to the work of LB and Cida (pictured) that makes sure drivers like Kevin always get a chance to pick up meals and supplies before they leave. Take a page from their book - be kind and show your appreciation to all of the hardworking waste management teams that keep our communities clean and sustainable.
Reducing & Reusing
We had a successful first few days of reusable bag service at the food pantry last week! Big thanks to Pam, a Cambridge City Growers volunteer who sourced hundreds of these unused and unlabeled yellow tote bags from a local print shop earlier this week.
These bags not only bring a splash of color to our gym, they also reduce our dependence on disposable plastics. By not ordering thousands of plastic bags each week, we can cut down on environmentally harmful waste while saving the Center a significant amount of money.
Now, what we used to spend on bags becomes a source of funding we're able to redistribute towards offering additional resources/support services to our community members. We are hopeful that this arrangement will continue to be sustainable for our pantry's operations - ultimately hoping that our new model will inspire other food distribution services to follow our lead.
Our reason for making such a commitment to innovate our distribution strategy boils down to our belief that serving our community involves both supporting our neighbors and respecting the environment we share. While the Center's programs directly support our community members on a day to day basis, we believe it's our responsibility to minimize any detrimental impact that our work leaves on the environment we share - a continued effort that will help to better the lives of our community members (albeit indirectly).
For more information on our reusable bag service, please send an email to our Community Engagement Coordinator, Zach Goldhammer.
A Fresh Start For Our Gym Floor
Ever since the first few weeks of the pandemic, when we converted CCC's basketball court into our pop-up Food & Supply Pantry, our gym floors have taken a beating. After all, this hardwood wasn’t designed to have hundred-pound pallets of food driven over it every day. A flooring meant for the competitive shuffle of basketball sneakers became the epicenter of our community's food distribution network in just a matter of weeks - and the drastic change has taken its toll.
On top of the damage done to the floorboards, the loss our ability to rent out the gym space has also been a heavy burden on the entire community. The Center not only lost over $125,000 from our annual budget, but the whole Cambridge community lost a coveted training facility for basketball players, from the young and talented athletes to the wiser veteran players who found solace on our gym's court.
However, it's an incredible relief to report that the light at the end of the tunnel is within reach! Thanks to both Lee and Cong from Gymnasium Floors Inc, our gym's flooring has been completely transformed with a sparkling clean new coat of polyurethane.
Now our gym's basketball court is officially ready, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to offer players a fresh start, post-pandemic. This was far from easy work and we’re incredibly grateful that this two-man crew made time to help us out over the weekend.
Hard Work On Our Hardwood