Weymouth man sets up free “pop-up pantry” for seniors amid coronavirus outbreak

WEYMOUTH — A Weymouth man has set up a “pop-up pantry” for seniors to get free in-demand supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

When Dennis Brooks witnessed shoppers clearing the shelves of paper, cleaning and disinfecting products and leaving his elderly neighbors without, he decided he would stock up, too, not for himself, but for those most in need.

“My work and my friends in the community kept giving me donations,” Brooks said. “So I just kept running around, and I’ve had friends going to stores buying me stuff just to give me enough to give to the elderly.”

Brooks told Boston 25 News he made several deliveries to his senior neighbors, particularly veterans and cancer patients, before filling his truck Wednesday afternoon with cases of water, toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, soap, disinfecting wipes, and more.

He parked his truck behind The Everyday Café on Bridge Street, where he knows the owner. He and a few volunteers, wearing gloves and keeping their distance from one another, served the seniors who drove through their mobile pantry, never having to get out of their cars.

“My god, I just saw it, and it’s just amazing. It really is. It restores your faith,” said Susan Hutchinson, who got a small bottle of hand sanitizer and some paper towels. “I try to be very careful. I do Lysol. I had Clorox wipes and stuff, but I didn’t have hand sanitizer.”

Brooks and others spread the word about the free supplies on Facebook. As many drivers pulled in to stock up, others came to donate cash to the cause.

“I saw it on Facebook, jumped in my car, shut off my dinner, which was on my stove, so I could down,” said Denise Marcotte, who has been taking extra precautions to protect herself, her teenage son and her husband who has cancer. “I got a little bit of water, and I got liquid soap, which I didn’t have.”

Marcotte was hoping to find disinfectant wipes, but the limited item had gone fast. She plans to return when Brooks is back.

Volunteer Beth Crawford brought her daughter to help hand out the items, teaching her a lesson in generosity at a time when so many are hoarding their supplies.

“It’s making a difference,” Crawford said. “People are helping each other and taking care of each other. And in this time with what’s going on in the world, that’s really what’s needed.”

Brooks hopes to restock and return to the 374 Bridge Street on Saturday and each following week as needed.

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