The organizers of the surplus food program, now called Helping Hands, begin distributions today, continuing monthly through April, 2009.

Future dates, all Fridays, are: Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Jan. 16, Feb, 13, March 13, and April 10.

All distributions will take place at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Parish House in Vineyard Haven. The parish house is the small building on William street right next to the church. Food will be distributed until we run out.

To qualify, all participants must be on one of the following programs or meet the USDA income guidelines: Food Stamps, AFDC, WIC, Welfare, Medicaid, SSI, Head Start, Fuel Assistance, Family Day Care, Veteran’s Aid or Food Pantry. Income guidelines vary, depending on the number of people in the household.

Helping Hands program this year will again be giving out complete Thanksgiving Meals and December Holiday Meals, which will include a frozen turkey, dressing mix, cranberry sauce, carrots, apples, dinner rolls and other items for a holiday meal.

Helping Hands is sponsored by the Vineyard Committee on Hunger. For details, call Betty Burton at 508-693-5339 or e-mail