Community group rallies to help those in need during pandemic

Mar 23, 2020

As businesses close and unemployment rises, a new community group is working to connect those in need with those who can help through mini food pantries around town.

Community Youth Empowerment was started earlier this spring, and normally hosts workshops for students in grades 8 to 12 to give them important life skills, and exposure to different careers to help them decide on their next step after high school. 

Board member Ashley Hachey said that she found a similar project on social media, and decided to bring the small-scale pantries to Wareham. 

On Sunday morning, March 22, Jowaun Gamble, the group’s president, started putting the plan into practice. He bought two large plastic bins at Target, as well as about $200 worth of toiletries and non-perishable foods. 

From there, he placed the bins outside of the Boys and Girls Club at 13 Highland Avenue in Onset. 

The bins are available to anyone in need, and donations can be dropped off directly in the bins as well. 

After an outpouring of support, Gamble placed donation bins outside of Mumma Mary’s, 219 Main Street, and the Dunkin’ Donuts at 2360 Cranberry Highway in West Wareham as well.

While the group normally focuses on young people, these donation bins are available to people of all ages. 

“We’re a community organization at the end of the day,” Gamble said, and as an organization, Community Youth Empowerment is a “firm believer in giving a helping hand.”

For those who are able to donate, Gamble said items of particular importance include soap, hygiene products, and “anything that doesn’t go bad” in terms of food. 

Hachey added that having the bins stationed outside is advantageous because those in need don’t need to wait to ask for anything, they can simply get it when they need to.

Those in need of assistance can contact Gamble at