The miracle that is Red Stocking has happened again. Through a tremendous effort on the part of hundreds of donors, volunteers, vendors and Red Stocking committee members, we distributed food, clothing, books and toys to 334 Vineyard children from 230 families. The piles and piles of wrapped presents that filled Grace Church last Thursday were cheerfully and efficiently sorted and organized into a sea of numbered bags ready for Friday morning’s pickup. This represented an increase of over 50 children from last year. But when the word went out that we had such an increased demand, the community’s response was truly overwhelming. Contributions kept coming and coming and coming and we were able to fill all the needs of all our children. This response was a typical example of the Island’s taking care of its own.
Because it is impossible to thank the hundreds of people, businesses and organizations who make this possible, we have tried to focus on one particular group each year. This year we would like to pay tribute to our off-Island supporters. While the bulk of our support is from local Vineyarders, we also receive much support from off-Islanders who have a connection to the Vineyard. For example, there is Louise, a summer resident, who rounded up a truckload of toys in New Jersey and had it delivered to us one late Friday night. Celeste from Scituate arrives each Thanksgiving with a carload of art supplies and assorted gifts. Each year we pick up a van full of toys from the Marines on Cape Cod. Money comes from donors all across the country including the Boston Area Roadsters and the Flemm Foundation in New York. This year our story somehow made it to NBC and we received two large boxes of books and toys from the charitable foundation of the Today Show. How truly incredible is this unsolicited response.
The bills are not all in yet but we are confident that because of the remarkable generosity of all who have contributed we will pay them all and, hopefully, still be able to provide $10,000 worth of food in March as we have done in the past. This year the challenge was greater due to the increase in numbers of needy applicants. However, our faith in the Vineyard community is strengthened once again when we consider its heartwarming response. We thank you on behalf of the 334 children who will be warm, well fed and happy this winter. The entire Island should stop for a moment and think of just what it has enabled us to do on its behalf — and should be very proud of itself.
and Lorraine Clark
Red Stocking Committee