With the summer season on Cape Cod and the islands kicking into gear, many residents who provide services to visitors and second home owners are struggling financially.
“Rising inflation is especially devastating to our neighbors who already live paycheck to paycheck,” said Susan Johnson, executive director of the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund. “Almost all of their income goes toward basic necessities — food, electricity, gas, housing — and these are the very same areas where we’ve seen the biggest price increases.”
“We don’t see that abating anytime soon,” she said, “add to that the Cape and Island affordability crisis and we have a perfect storm on the way.”
Today, the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund kicks off its appeal to raise money for the summer, hoping to raise $150,000 between now and August 14. The Needy Fund has completed more than 6,500 requests for help in the past year – a 44% increase from the previous year providing aid to more than 3,000 households. A contribution can help a family stay in their home, a service worker can pay for childcare and gas, an elderly person to cover housing costs and a resident with transportation or health problems.
The Needy Fund offers short-term emergency aid to residents of the Cape and Islands, so that they can continue to work and/or live at home.
Most requests for help in the past year were for rent and mortgage help, followed by help with energy and fuel costs, Johnson said.
Fund offers help to residents who are struggling financially
Seniors in the Cape and Islands have also been hit hard by the current financial conditions.
“We’ve seen an increase in housing instability for these people, many of whom are on fixed incomes and who have told us they’ve never asked for help before but didn’t know where else to go,” Johnson said. “We are grateful to be a resource for these neighbors and are doing everything we can to help them stay as safe and independent as possible in their homes.”
Help for seniors can include filling their oil tank, repairing their heating or water systems, making minor car repairs to get to medical appointments and even helping pay for the installation of grab bars and railings, she added.
To raise awareness about the Summer Call, the Cape Cod Times will feature a story every Sunday, which will be accompanied by a list of people who have donated to the fund. The last story of the summer campaign will be published on August 21.
Applicants submit their requests for assistance to the Emergency Fund, which in turn pays for the goods or services — a medical bill, for example — through a voucher system.
How to donate to the needy fund
Gifts, which are tax deductible, can be made to: needyfund.org† Checks may be made payable to the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund and mailed to Cape Cod Times Needy Fund, PO Box 36, Hyannis, MA 02601.
Those in need of assistance can contact the Emergency Fund at 508-778-5661 or 800-422-1446.
“We are excited to kick off the Needy Fund’s Summer Appeal, which provides a smart way for seasonal Cape Codders and visitors to help those struggling with the high cost of living and working on Cape Cod,” Peter Meyer, president of the Needy Fund, said. “The Needy Fund assists Cape Cod residents who are experiencing temporary financial difficulties by helping them with the cost of rent, food, insurance, childcare, medical expenses, or any number of other expenses that could make it difficult for them to live on Cape Cod. stay. They will thank you for your generosity and we will all benefit from a stronger community.”
Anne Brennan is the editor-in-chief of the Cape Cod Times. Follow her on Twitter: @AnneBrennanCCT.