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Local Partners Collaborate to Open Barnstable School District Food Pantry.

Over 58% of Barnstable Students identify as food Insecure. Stop & Shop and local partners collaborate to expand access to fresh and healthy foods, including locally caught fish and chowder, to students and families in need.

Barnstable, MA (February 12, 2024) – The Barnstable School District today celebrated the official grand opening of the “Red Hawks Food Pantry” in Barnstable High School, an initiative aimed at addressing food insecurity among students and their families. The program is a collaboration between Stop & Shop, a Quincy, MA based supermarket chain, and local partners (Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s Alliance, Cape Abilities, and Chatham Harvesters Cooperative) which were curated by the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension (CCCE), a Barnstable County Government agency that works with regional food suppliers to address food security needs on Cape Cod.

Through this unique collaboration of Massachusetts based businesses and organizations, students and their families will have access to healthy foods including: locally caught and flash frozen seafood products, locally grown produce, and a variety of shelf stable pantry items. About 4,900 students are currently enrolled in the Barnstable Public School District, with over 58% identifying as food insecure. Currently nearly 70 families are utilizing the new Barnstable High School Food Pantry and that number continues to increase.  Cape Cod has seen a dramatic increase in food insecurity since the pandemic and continues to rise steadily with the increased cost of housing and living expenses. Barnstable’s student population who identify as unhoused has grown about 5% this year, including families living in shelters and families who are doubled or tripled up in small houses with other families.

“At the start of the covid pandemic when schools and businesses abruptly closed, my food service department swiftly opened food distribution sites and never missed a day of feeding our students. Coming out of the pandemic, it was clear of the ongoing need to support our community as food insecurity was growing dramatically in our community,” said Dave Badot, Food and Nutritional Director for the Barnstable Public School District. “Knowing we had to find a way to help our students, the idea of The Red Hawks Food Pantry came alive. With the support of our partners, we are able offer aid to our students and their families who experience food insecurity and help take away some of the burden they feel.”

Stop & Shop, through its school food pantry program, has committed a total of $35,000 to help support the Barnstable pantry and stock its shelves with nutritious, shelf stable food items. The Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program was established to help limit barriers impacting students’ ability to succeed in the classroom by making sure that they have consistent access to food. Stop & Shop currently supports over 200 school pantries across its footprint, and will support over 250 pantries by the end of 2024.

“We launched our School Food Pantry program in 2019 because Stop & Shop is committed to fighting food insecurity and helping our neighbors in the communities we serve,” said Jen Barr, Director of Communications and Community Giving for Stop & Shop. “The Barnstable food pantry really represents the spirit and culture of Cape Cod with Stop & Shop, local fisheries and farming coops working together to ensure Barnstable kids and their families have access to healthy food and can thrive.”

The local community partners all came together thanks to the CCCE’s Land and Sea initiative, in which CCCE purchases locally grown produce and seafood products, prioritizing purchasing from socially disadvantaged growers. With support from Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) through the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA Plus), CCCE brings together producers, distributors, community organizations, and food security partners to establish local food system connections and a pipeline in which underserved producers can secure markets and provide local food to underserved communities.

“Connecting the dots between local food producers with organizations that are working to address food insecurity is a coordinated effort—one that draws upon the resourcefulness of our partners and grant funding,” said Andrea Marczely, Food Access Coordinator at the CCCE.  “Our farmers and fishermen have never wavered in their commitment to providing nutritious, high-quality food for our community. By going all-in together to support both Cape Cod’s agriculture and seafood industry, and people in need, we can strengthen families and the bonds of our community as a whole”.

The Chatham Harvesters Co-op, a fisherman-owned-and-operated seafood business, provides the pantry with a variety of local, healthy and abundant fish such as mackerel, monkfish, skate, hake, dogfish and more.  This flash frozen, locally caught fish provides a healthy protein source for families.  

“This is a true win-win where we as fishermen are able to deliver our catch to those who need it the most and at the same time pay our fishing families a fair price. We have abundant fish species here locally that often get shipped far away resulting in the fishermen getting paid a very low price and community members losing access,” said Doug Feeny, President of The Chatham Harvesters Co-op. “Together with the food pantry we’re building a new supply chain with a much lower carbon footprint that enhances our local food security.”

The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s alliance provides students and their families with a variety of chowders (Haddock, Provencal Fish Stew and Clam Chowder) through its Small Boats, Big Taste Program. The program’s mission is to pay local fishermen a reliable, fair price for their catch, help neighbors in need across the Commonwealth and introduce more people to the seafood caught just off our shores.  Since the Small Boats, Big Taste program launched in 2020 the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s alliance has provided more than one million servings across Cape Cod.

“We are pleased to partner with the Barnstable Schools and Stop & Shop as they push back the tide of food insecurity,” said Seth Rolbein, senior outreach and policy advisor at the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “The National Institutes of Health say eating seafood improves brain, eye, and heart health and new dietary guidelines recommend that Americans of all ages eat seafood at least twice a week. Our stews and chowders, made with local seafood and easy to prepare with a microwave or hot plate, make that simple to do. And they are delicious.”

Cape Abilities Farm is a social enterprise of Cape Abilities, a nonprofit that has been creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod since 1968. The farm sources and grows fresh, organic, and local fruits and vegetables that are included in the Land and Sea produce boxes, which are assembled on-site at Cape Abilities Farm by staff, volunteers, and individuals.

“We are proud to be part of this important initiative in our community,” said Kim McElholm, President & CEO of Cape Abilities. “Food security is an essential part of a healthy and vibrant Cape Cod, and we want to do our part by ensuring that the farm is an active partner in this. It’s about the importance of inclusion, community, and universal access to healthy, farm-fresh food.”

Stop & Shop Contact:

Stephanie Cunha at

Chris Cafaro at (845)-458-4968,

About Stop & Shop
A neighborhood grocer for more than 100 years, Stop & Shop is focused on delivering a wide assortment of fresh, healthy options at a great value through strong weekly sales and everyday low prices. Its new GO Rewards loyalty program delivers personalized offers and allows customers to earn points that can be redeemed for gas or groceries every time they shop. Stop & Shop customers can choose however they want to shop – whether it’s in-store or online, which offers both delivery and same day pickup. The company is committed to making an impact in its communities by fighting against hunger, supporting our troops and through overall incredible acts of care. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC is an Ahold Delhaize USA Company and employs more than 54,000 associates and operates more than 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. To learn more about Stop & Shop, visit
About CCCE Cape Cod Cooperative Extension (CCCE) is a department of the Barnstable County government serving the 15 municipalities on Cape Cod. The mission of CCCE is to improve the health, wellbeing, and security of youth, families, and communities; conserve and enhance natural resources; and strengthen agriculture and local food systems. CCCE’s programs include, but are not limited to, agriculture, aquaculture, horticulture, food security, nutrition, and environmental education. As part of CCCE programming, the Food Access Coordinator (FAC) and Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod Program Coordinator (BFBLCC) promote local agriculture and seafood producers to ensure all Cape Cod residents have access to healthy foods, nutrition information, and economic development opportunities. CCCE’s staff work collaboratively with a sustainable network of community partners made up of local food distribution entities and regional food producers to address food security needs on Cape Cod. Supporting Cape Cod’s local agricultural economy while addressing food security barriers experienced by Barnstable County’s underserved populations is a priority for CCCE.
About MDAR
MDAR’s mission is to cultivate a robust and equitable agricultural economy, promote a safe and resilient food system, and preserve a healthy environment for Massachusetts farmers, animals, and consumers. Through its five divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Produce Safety – MDAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community, promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit MDAR’s website at