The community says ‘Thank You’ one gesture at a time
Meals, groceries, tokens of thanks come to CCHC staff from the community that supports us
The red, white and blue box trucks trailers were thrown open, pallets of brown boxes filling one; the other loaded with assorted containers of oranges, bread and non-perishables.
The food deliveries to Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital were designed as a thank you to frontline workers who had served the community for nearly a year in its fight against COVID-19. Don Cox, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, once focused on helping veterans, has expanded its food distribution program to communities across the Cape and throughout Massachusetts since the pandemic hit. He said that supporting all Cape Cod Healthcare staff was a critical mission.
“We want to thank them for everything they’ve given in the last year,” Cox said. “I was here myself two months ago getting a test at the Melody Tent. They helped me out. Helped me quarantine. It’s been a long road and we wanted to give them something back.”
In recent weeks, tokens of thanks in the form of Valentine’s cards, music videos and even rolls of Lifesavers candy have reached Cape Cod Healthcare employees in hospital parking lots, on unit bulletin boards and even at the mobile testing site from neighbors in the community who are grateful and want to encourage the staff that is fighting the pandemic.
At the grocery and hot meal distribution in Hyannis, cars lined up through the Cape Cod Hospital parking lot and stopped at the first truck as drivers popped their trunks. Volunteers hustled to place brown boxes filled with milk, cheese, produce and other perishable foods packaged as part of the USDA Farmers to Families program into each car. A stop at the second truck brought a hot BBQ chicken meal – some packaged for families of four, others a single-serve meal, fresh from the Cape Wingate Kirkland camp kitchen.
State representatives Steven Xiarhos and Kip Diggs helped load the cars as they passed through.
“These workers have been on the front lines of a horrible pandemic for over a year now,” said Xiarhos. “We wanted to come today to say thank you. You’re healthcare heroes and we respect and honor you.”
Nearly 600 boxes of perishables and 500 meals were delivered to the Cape Cod Healthcare staff in Hyannis and 350 were distributed to employees at the Falmouth Hospital event.
Cox, who retired to Cape Cod from Sheraton Hotels & Resorts as a vice president of food and beverage, said he understands food supply chains and wanted to honor his father’s military service by helping veterans. What started as a small food pantry on Joint Base Cape Cod which helped feed Coast Guard service people during a government shutdown has grown in a few short years to a state-wide food distribution operation with 11 trucks, delivering food to 40,000 people a week at 17 different sites across the state.
The pandemic brought about a need he couldn’t have predicted. From March to December of 2020, Cox said they have distributed 38.8 million pounds of food. He wanted to extend that care in appreciation of Cape Cod Healthcare staff.
“From a little Cape Cod support foundation to feeding 4,000 people in Boston every week,” Cox said. “We’re happy to do it.”