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Provincetown :: Saturday, February 28th 2015

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Community Care

Local Nonprofit Organizations

January 17th, 2015

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.

Services now include a food and personal-care product pantry, private space for clients to use computers and phones, and handicapped-accessible lavatory and meeting space.

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 addition, they provide rapid HIV testing, STI & Hepatitis C screening, a needle exchange program, drug overdose prevention, and street team outreach and education.

Through community support of ASGCC with donations to over a dozen fund-raising events, the agency raised enough money for renovation of their nutrition program's kitchen, which produces a daily congregate lunch at their Provincetown main office at 96-98 Bradford Street. The lunch, served between 11 am and 1 pm., not only provides a healthy midday meal but also an important opportunity for people to socialize and have contact with others. Those unable to leave their homes can also request home delivered meals may request one through their Case Manager. They also host a Local Flavor dinner every Tuesday evening at the Provincetown main office, where volunteer chefs prepare a delicious community meal for ASGCC clients. The dinners provide an opportunity for clients to socialize and have a night out, which is particularly important in the winter months when isolation can become an issue.

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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. Clients include women with cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, heart disease, pulmonary issues, mental illness and other serious conditions, over 40% of them elderly.

Following their late 2013 move to larger quarters at 34 Conwell Street their services now include a food and personal-care product pantry, private space for clients to use computers and phones, and handicapped-accessible lavatory and meeting space. HOW receives no state or federal funding, so the support of the community, in terms of volunteer efforts, community fundraisers and individual donations is vital!! Their latest effort is a collaborative partnership with the Homeless Prevention Council in creating the new Outer Cape HomeShare program, which will match homeowners seeking to rent a spare room for extra income with those who can't find housing or can't afford an apartment of their own. Some home shares include a reduction in rent in exchange for gardening, housework or other services, and provides companionship for both parties.

The Soup Kitchen In Provincetown (SKIP) celebrates its 22st year of providing a hot, nourishing lunch to Outer Cape residents, November through April, Monday through Friday at the Provincetown United Methodist Church. SKIP provides 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. Close to 15,000 lunches will be served this season, according to SKIP office coordinator Susan Grace. The group has annual expenses of around $90,000, which they raise through a variety of fundraisers including the annual “Souper Saturday” benefit held during Holly Folly weekend.

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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