Chef and restauranteur Ruth Pitts has been named the new manager of the Nantucket Food Pantry.
Pitts - well known to the community from her time running the former Centre Street Bistro restaurant and the Bistro at Home takeout business with her husband Tim - is taking the torch from Yeshe Palmo, who served as Food Pantry manager for the past five years.
Pitts' hiring was announced by the Nantucket Interfaith Council, which runs the Nantucket Food, Fuel and Rental Assistance (NFFRA) as an outreach program that includes the Nantucket Food Pantry.
"The Food Pantry has become such an integral part of our community," Pitts told the Current. "I just felt our many years in the food industry would be a great match and fortunately NFFRA agreed. It’s a great organization with amazing volunteers who I look forward to working with and learning from."
Since the Centre Street Bistro closed down several years ago following the sale of the building at 29 Centre Street to Blue Flag Partners (which subsequently renovated the space and opened the Sister Ship restaurant), the Pitts have continued to cook for island residents with their "Bistro At Home" takeout business. It has relocated several times, and is currently operating out of St. Paul's church on Fair Street. The Pitts plan to continue operating the business even with Ruth in her new role.
"When the Bistro closed I applied to the Peace Corps and was accepted which was amazing, but then it was Covid so all placements stopped and we went on to Bistro at Home," Pitts said. "But I have been looking for something similar ever since."
The Nantucket Food Pantry, which has seen record demand over the past year, currently operates out of the Greenhound Building at 10 Washington Street, but it is actively searching for a new headquarters. Last year the Food Pantry distributed more than 20,000 bags of food and produce to island residents in need.
The hiring of Pitts was announced by Rabbi Gary M. Bretton-Granatoor, of Congregation Shirat HaYam, Nantucket, who served as the president for the Nantucket Interfaith Council.
The Pitts “help several non-profit clients by preparing congregate meals at St. Paul's, weekly precooked meals for the Pantry, meals for the Warming Place, and much more,” Bretton-Granatoor stated in the announcement. “She has extensive food service experience, numerous contacts with the food service industry, and a love of serving food to all members of the community. She has given many volunteer hours helping those in need as both a literacy tutor, a classroom teacher, and working with children at STAR. She is very excited about taking on this new responsibility. Her husband Tim will continue at the helm of Bistro At Home.”