EDGARTOWN COMMUNITY SUPPERS
Sponsored by The UMC of MV, Served at S. Andrew’s
Winter of 2019


In 2019, the Edgartown Community Suppers remained at St. Andrews Church.  We cooked upstairs in the Parish House, but served dinner in the basement. This division made for a lot of creative juggling and provided volunteers with their daily exercise.  The suppers began this year on January 6 and ran until March 30, for a total of 13 dinners.

Not counting volunteers, we served an average of 30 people at the church with a high of 45 and a low of 15.  We also provided between 4 to 8 meals for the Tuesday night HOG program. Putting all those numbers together, it looks like we served about people 450 in the course of the winter.

Our meals consist of a vegetarian soup, a meat entree, lots of bread, regular salad, fruit salad and dessert.  As much as possible, the food is made on the day rather than store bought which is both less expensive and better tasting. We give away any donated food that we do not use and any food that is left over.

As always with a church program, it would not have happen without the incredible commitment and hard work of a group of very loyal volunteers, Annette Anthony (Serve Safe), Phil Dietterich, Liza Lucier (Serve Safe),  and Mary Spencer. There are also my unseen prep cooks John Dropick and Claire Thacher who turn up to mince and prep for two hours and then vanish so one really knows how hard they work.   The United Methodist Society provides funds and The Rotary Club of MV continued to provide both volunteers and funds.

We are very grateful to St. Andrews for allowing us to use their buildings and by supporting our efforts by attending many of our suppers.  Father Chip, their minister, is there almost every Monday to say grace for the meal. 

We also want to thank all those who have supported us this year with donations.  These contributions include gifts in kind from The Boston Food Bank, Island Food Products and Stop and Shop as well as financial support from the United Methodist Society, the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard and all those who contribute via the donation box at the suppers, allowing the supper to finish the year in the black.

Respectfully submitted

Elizabeth Villard (Serve Safe)

Community Suppers  every night, January – March

Monday   5:30 PM    St. Andrew’s Church, Edgartown (508) 627-5330

Tuesday   5:30 PM    Chilmark Community Church, Chilmark (508) 645-3100

Wednesday 5:30 PM West Tisbury Church, West Tisbury (through April)

(508) 639-2842

Thursday   5:00 PM   St Augustine’s Church, Vineyard Haven (508)693-0103

Fridays 5:30 PM    First Baptist Church, Vineyard Haven (508) 693-1539

Saturday 5:30 PM     Trinity Parish House, Oak Bluffs (508) 693-4424

Sunday   12:30 PM         Federated Church, Edgartown (508) 627-4421

SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM

It became apparent that many of the Island children benefit greatly from the meals that they receive at school during the year. Many families struggle with the high cost of housing, the seasonal economy, and the additional cost of transporting necessities to an island, among others factors. It became apparent that summer vacation caused a gap in the meal program resource. St Andrew’s played a valuable role in bringing Ruth Campbell, who had set up these programs on Cape Cod, to the Vineyard to assist in implementing a Summer Lunch Program. Through her guidance, we now have a six-week program that is designed to meet the needs of our kids at various locations throughout the Island. It then became apparent that we have another group of Senior citizens that may benefit from a daily lunch, who are financially challenged living on a fixed income, and need to cut back on food purchases. We then opened the program to anyone who felt a need to partake.

St Andrew’s has historically volunteered to work with the Boys and Girls Club because it is in Edgartown, thus we feed only children at that location, five days a week for six weeks, although some of our volunteers work at the High School kitchen, where the meals are prepared and distributed.

It is a challenge to fill all the spots necessary and we partner with The Federated Church to meet the sixty plus vacancies that confronts us. It was a tad terrifying at the beginning and yet, some wonderful parishioners came through to make last summer’s program very successful and fun.

Thank you so much to all who participated. Your caring, patience, and the gift of your energy and time mean so much.

Mardi Moran

GOOD SHEPHERD FOOD PROGRAM

Through a grant from the Greater Boston Food Bank and generous supporters, St Andrew’s among them, we purchased a free-standing freezer to augment the refrigerator we purchased last year. This has enabled us to have meats, soups, and other frozen foods as well as fruits, dairy products, and vegetables to distribute to those groups that can accommodate them. We bring food to Community Services Head Start and Early Childhood Programs, the Boys and Girls Club, the Oak Bluffs School, The Coast Guard Wives Program, some identified Island families, and some Island libraries. Last year, we gave away 75,000 pounds of food. In December alone, we fed 1,031 children, adults and Seniors.

We realized that there are some Senior citizens and others, who could use our help, so we initiated a program where we distribute food twice a month at the Good Shepherd Parish Center. At the last gathering, we had over 70 people partake of the offerings, expecting that those numbers will increase. We find that the numbers ebb and flow as the seasons change. There is a much smaller audience as Summer approaches and people are able to find work. When businesses close in the Autumn and jobs become scarce, we see an uptick in our numbers. It has become obvious that people want to be independent and when they can get by on their own, they do so. Some of our recipients report that they are paying about 70% of their take home pay to housing expense, even when they work year-round and have regular housing from October to May.

Our dedicated group of volunteers, known as Our Angels, come weekly to help either fill bags that are brought to the Boys and Girls Club or help with our twice monthly distributions are: Connie Alexander, Nancy Billings, Anne and John Cummings, Donna Joyce, Anne Magnesio, Barbara Murphy, Muriel O’Rourke, Tim Rush, Hazel Teagan, Pat White, and Sharon Willoughby. They are a delightful and resourceful bunch. Kimberly Burke and her daughter, Bianca, help us on Saturday distribution.

We are also assisted by Joe Capobianco, our Coordinator, who orders the food, drives the truck and picks up the food in Harwich, MA. He is our liaison to The Greater Boston Food Bank, who provides us with so much food at incredibly reduced prices. Poli Bellan Wilson is our Social Media guru, who publicizes our events, and amazes us with her proficiency. Janay Dlabaj works with Joe to organize inventory, write necessary reports, distribute food and charm us with her two young daughters. I am in charge of grant writing and soliciting new distribution sites.

Mardi Moran