Those who know me would think that the first letter to the editor that I would write would be about the marine environment. But I am writing to urge everyone to support the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living in the quest for a new home for the center and the Supportive Day Program.

The Center for Living, formerly the Island Councils on Aging, has been around for over 30 years. It is a 501c3 nonprofit that coordinates the Emergency Food Program, coordinates transportation services and applies for various state grants to support regional senior services.

The flagship program is the Supportive Day Program which provides a safe and fun place for clients as well as a respite for their caregivers. This is far more than a bunch of people playing cards or bingo for the day. The program allows clients and their caregivers access to other support services that are available to them and a safe place where caregivers can leave their loved ones for a short time.

Currently, the program operates two days a week in Edgartown and two days a week in Tisbury. Both towns have requested that the program find its own space so that time and space in the two senior centers can be freed up. That request was made several years ago.

Since then the Center for Living has been looking for a home. Years have been spent on the search process, which included contacting other nonprofits for space, but nothing seemed to pan out for them until two years ago the county offered to help. At first a new building at the airport was considered but would have been very expensive to build and operate. Then the existing proposal came to light with the availability of the old VNA building in Tisbury. It is twice the size of the airport building project and will allow for the expansion of the Supportive Day Program and more space for the food program and other worthwhile regional services.

The major hurdle that the program faces is that it will need approval at six out of six town meetings this spring. That is why they will need Island-wide support for this project or it will not move forward.

How do I know about all of this? I am married to the director of the Center for Living. She started the Supportive Day Program when she was the director of the Edgartown Senior Center in the 1980s. After a 10-year break to raise a few kids, my wife returned from working at home to professional life and accepted the job of director of the ICOA, now the Center for Living. Several years ago the Center for Living took over the operation of the Supportive Day Program from Edgartown and started looking for a new home. It has been a long and frustrating process for her and the staff. But the solution is at hand, and it just needs your support at town meeting. Getting six out of six towns to agree is no small feat. Thus this letter requesting voters support.

I would also like to request further coverage by your paper as we move closer to town meeting season. Though your paper has reported on the Supportive Day Program in the past, the articles never focused on the future or caught the distinction between town and regional nonprofit services.

My wife works with a staff of angels to provide respite care for clients and their caregivers. To my wife they are not clients or caregivers or staff, they are her people. Please help my wife give her people a home.

Paul L. Bagnall

The writer is the Edgartown shellfish constable.