The Cape Cod Head Start center on Stevens Street in Hyannis has delivered over 200 brand new winter coats and snow pants to children across Cape Cod over past few weeks, thanks to a gift from the Masonic Angel Foundation's Beehive Winter Coats program.
When one child tried on a coat,the youngster declared, "This is the warmest coat I've ever worn! Can I please keep wearing it?".
Indeed, messages of appreciation have been pouring in from Head Start staff and families, says CDI Cape Cod Head Start's Family and Community Partnership Manager Jennifer Sullivan. In recent days she has shared many of the messages with the Masonic Angel Foundation's (MAF) headquarters in Orleans:
The Masonic Angels also welcomed Head Start into their Beehive Food Program. The agency is now receiving food packages for fifty families once a month. This monthly package helps to supplement the food families are unable to obtain from other sources.
In a recent report to the national Office of Head Start, the agency detailed their new relationship with MAF...
"FCP Manager, Jen Sullivan noticed that many families in the program were struggling with food insecurity. She quickly reached out to the Masonic Angel Foundation (MAF) to develop a partnership.
MAF responded immediately and has committed to providing 50 families with on-going food support.
They also delivered more than 200 brand new warm winter coats and snow pants for the children in the Head Start Program.
This partnership is providing children and families support hard for them to access otherwise. CDI is thankful for this partnership with MAF!"
The MAF Beehive Food Program has served Cape Cod families since 2012 and is currently providing packages to 196 families each month. This year the program added the Family Resource Center and CDI Cape Cod Head Start. The long-time MAF community partner recently joined Beehive, as well.
For the all-volunteer MAF, the relationship with Head Start is a return to one of their original partners. "About 18 years ago, Head Start became our very first partner that was not a traditional K-12 school. We worked for many years with outstanding professionals like June Horan and Mal Hughes at the previous Head Start program - and did some excellent work in partnership with them, much of it to help address unique needs of particular children in a creative, compassionate way," reports MAF co-founder and president Robert Fellows. "We hadn't done much with Head Start since all of our contact people left the former Head Start grantee's employment, so the relationship lay fallow for a few years."
After Community Development Institute - a national interim management agency for Head Start - took over the Cape Cod program, Ms. Sullivan reached out. Initially she inquired about winter coats, which the Masonic Angels were more than eager to provide. In subsequent conversations with Ms. Sullivan, MAF volunteers learned of the food insecurity challenge among Head Start families and stepped up with 50 food packages per month. "We are delighted to partnering once again with Head Start," said Mr. Fellows.
Building community support has been a challenge for the interim Head Start agency, following the travails of former grantee Cape Cod Child Development Program (CCCDP). It's an uphill battle for the agency to differentiate itself from CCCDP. "This is a totally different organization from CCCDP," explains Mr. Fellows. "We find the new Head Start agency staff to be efficient, compassionate and highly motivated to advocate for the children they serve. We encourage our philanthropic colleagues on the Cape to offer their support to this fine program."