Philanthropy on Martha’s Vineyard is usually measured in dollars and cents. But there’s a quieter kind of giving that really makes the Island run.

Winter, summer, spring and fall, Martha’s Vineyard depends on volunteers.

They help out in town libraries and public schools, shelving books and reading aloud to children for whom English is not their first language.

They man distributions of free food to people in need at the Island Food Pantry. They fan out into farm fields as part of the Islandwide gleaning program, harvesting fresh vegetables that might otherwise be plowed under or go to waste. The harvest is donated to help feed hungry Islanders at community suppers held nightly in various churches throughout the off season. The suppers too are put on by volunteers.

Volunteers receive training from Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, assisting people who are near the end of their lives. They drive seniors to doctors’ appointments for Vineyard Village at Home.

They help arrange charity golf outings, collect items for benefit auctions, organize book sales and fashion shows and direct traffic at fundraising events. They bake to raise money for needy friends, then sit at tables to sell their wares.

They donate their time at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, which depends on volunteers to greet and escort patients, among other things.

The more you look, the more you see them.

At the Polly Hill Arboretum last night, a special dinner was held to honor some eighty five — that’s right, eighty five — volunteers who help out at the West Tisbury arboretum.

Erin Hepfner, the staffer who was helping to organize the evening of appreciation, said the volunteers help tend gardens and greenhouses, work in the visitor center and herbarium library and assist with youth education programs, among other things.

“We’re very appreciative of them — they’re here every week of the year,” she said, noting that volunteers had logged in to work more than eight hundred times this year alone.

Volunteerism is one of the highest forms of community service, and the many volunteers who contribute their time to make the Vineyard a better place are owed a debt of thanks.

All deserve a dinner of appreciation. They are the angels of the Island.