The nation is facing food insecurity from a broad range of directions that have been exacerbated by the impacts of the Covid-19 virus. Chickens, pigs, vegetables, cranberries cannot be harvested because of social distance regulations constraining workers. Many people have adopted a bunker mentality which causes them to purchase larger quantities of food making certain products unavailable. Those living at or below the poverty level are no longer able to work their “gig“ or hospitality job to cover some of their basic needs. Many are having to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. The Vineyard has not been immune to these pressures. In fact, the demand for food in recent months has significantly increased, so much that the Island Food Pantry has outgrown its operational space at the Methodist Church on William street in Vineyard Haven.

But president Margaret Hannemann, executive director Kayte Morris and development chair Rosemary Chalk have been working overtime to increase resources for the many in need, and the public is beginning to respond. In particular, kudos to the 10 artist at the Louisa Gould Gallery who have created new works for a benefit Island Food Pantry Art Show.

Deborah Colter, John Holladay, Nancy Furnio, Jack Yuen, Kate Huntington, Rick Fleury, Adair Peck, Frauke Klatt, Ellen Lyman and Christie Scheele are exhibiting at the gallery and contributing a portion of proceeds from any sales to the food pantry. This represents a wonderful opportunity to patronize these generous artists who want to help the food pantry.

The Louisa Gould Gallery was not the only one to respond to the exigencies facing the food pantry. Union Chapel has chosen to make a $5,000 challenge food gift to the pantry in honor of two of their revered trustees who recently died. Rev. John Schule and Mildred Dowdell Henderson were long time trustees at Union Chapel. Both were deeply invested in the well being of those in need on the Island. The challenge gift, in their names, is intended to encourage other Vineyard organizations and families to contribute at any level in order to reach another $5,000. Persons wishing to honor the memory of these two dedicated human beings can make contributions to the Island Food Pantry via the pantry’s donation website: island

Generosity and sacrifice in relationship to food sharing is perhaps the most important civic duty we can summon today. Without food, one is not able to think, work or sleep. Young children need food to nourish their growth and their sence of family. Any amount of financial support will be appreciated.

Paradise on earth is the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!