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Provincetown :: Saturday, December 20th 2014

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Community Care

Local Nonprofit Organizations

January 23rd, 2014

A measure of “quality of life” in a small town lies in the community's care for its most vulnerable residents, and here in Provincetown our local nonprofits reflect both its heart and its diversity year-round. Into these worthy groups we devote our spare cash, our free time and our love.

SKIP's goal is to provide nutritious, healthy meals in a welcoming and warm atmosphere for all individuals who are either in need or seek community.

The Aids Support Group of Cape Cod was founded in 1983 in a response to the emergence HIV/AIDS, to provide compassionate care to gay men who lived in or moved to Provincetown. Since then the group has expanded their geographical service area, and now serve over 465 clients in all 15 Cape Cod towns, Martha's Vineyard and beyond. They provide case management, counseling and peer support, nutrition programs, housing services, transportation and emergency assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2013, the community supported ASGCC with donations to 13+ fundraising events, allowing the agency to raise money for expansion of services and renovation of their nutrition program's kitchen.

In addition, they provide rapid HIV testing, STI & Hepatitis C screening, a needle exchange program, drug overdose prevention, and street team outreach and education. Prevention workers come into contact with over 100,000 residents and visitors to Provincetown from all over the world, and distribute over 50,000 safer sex prevention packets.

Helping Our Women was founded in 1993 to provide direct services that support women with chronic and life threatening illnesses. They provide clients with referrals to health care, social services and benefits programs, help provide transportation to medical appointments on the Cape or to Boston, and provide some limited financial assistance. Their clients include women with cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, heart disease, pulmonary issues, mental illness and other serious conditions, and over 40% of those being served are elderly. They also hold weekly support groups for women with cancer and those suffering chronic illness.

Nancy Lynch, the newly-appointed successor to Irene Rabinowitz (who retired in January, has been astonished at the warmth extended to her in welcome, brings great nonprofit experience to her new role as HOW’s Executive Director (see related article), and notes that the community's generous support of the agency, and aspects like the food and personal care pantry already makes her job caring for clients that much easier. HOW's move last year to larger quarters at 34 Conwell Street, now includes the pantry, private space for clients to use computers and phones, a handicapped-accessible lavatory and meeting space, is a bright, welcoming place for clients and visitors. While they have received grants from the Cape and Islands United Way and the Seamen’s Bank Foundation, HOW receives no state or federal funding, so the support of the community is vital to their success! Nancy, a dynamo hailing originally from Brockton, MA, has just the energy, creativity and smarts to bring a great future to our beloved nonprofit!

The Soup Kitchen In Provincetown (SKIP) provides a hot, nourishing lunch to Outer Cape residents, November through April, Monday through Friday. SKIP's goal is to provide nutritious, healthy meals in a welcoming and warm atmosphere for all individuals who are either in need or seek community. The lack of proper nutrition for many in this area is an ongoing challenge, particularly as it relates to the town's seasonally employed, chronically unemployed, and elderly residents.
The Kitchen enjoys great support from the community, including regular Friday bread and baked-good deliveries from both the Portuguese bakery and Stop & Shop. This year, according to Howell, the Kitchen is serving 400+ people a week. Everyone is welcomed, and you need only donate what you can afford for your meal.

Chris Daniels is a writer, photographer and office-guru-about-town who shares her life with a bossy cat and “Damon, the Dog With the Toy”

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