The Captain’s Cupboard has a new home and is now open to help students who need assistance.
The food pantry reopened Tuesday, October 13, at its new location in a college-owned building at 5 Surfsite Road near the corner of Benjamin Fickett Street, a short walk from the Campus Center. The location is more visible and accessible than its former home in the Captain’s House, a building nestled on the north end of campus.
The Captain’s Cupboard has been open on a limited basis, offering self-serve bags of food on an on-again off-again schedule since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the South Portland Campus in mid-March.
In its new location, students can stop by from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the time being, they can select food offerings on their own, with no more than three people allowed inside at a time.
“It’s really exciting to have the Captain’s Cupboard open in this new location,” said Christina LeBel, a Behavioral Health and Human Services student who serves as operations manager. “This is such an essential service, and I’m proud to be a part of it here at SMCC.”
The Captain’s Cupboard opened in November 2013, giving students a place to turn for assistance.
It partners with Hannaford supermarkets, the Good Shepherd Food Bank, The Locker Project and other local businesses and organizations that donate canned and dry foods, as well as fresh produce, other food selections and personal hygiene products.
Over the past couple of weeks, LeBel has set up the new location with shelving, a new refrigerated case, freezers and other items that were moved from the former Captain’s Cupboard location. When the coronavirus pandemic passes and things return to normal, the building will be staffed with student volunteers.
She said the Captain’s Cupboard is more important now than ever, with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Last year, more than 100 students a week visited the Captain’s Cupboard to pick up food for themselves and their families.