Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard celebrates summer

Executive director Terre Young, left, and board president Nancy Whipple flank Dr. Bruce Stelle early in the evening. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

On a gorgeous midsummer eve, 280 guests poured happily into Farm Neck Golf Club on Monday for the Summer Soiree, the signature annual fundraiser for Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.

What’s grown into a huge gathering started out in the mid-1990s with a modest cocktail party where people were simply invited to come and support Hospice, however they could. Since then it’s grown steadily and continues to broaden its appeal. “I was thrilled that we had so many people come to support us,” said Terre Young, Hospice’s executive director. “And there were new people in the crowd, new friends who received the message of the evening.”

More than 50 volunteers kept the evening moving, gathering auction items, bussing the tables, tending bar, serving the cheese, manning the auction tents. “It’s a great gang of people,” Ms. Young said. “It was a team, a marvelous team.”

Before dinner, an extensive silent auction drew the attention of many attendees, with dozens of attractive items on the block. Later, the proceedings were turned over to the persuasive, persistent Trip Barnes who had bidders smiling as they opened their wallets in a live auction that featured 20 items, including a sail on Charlotte with Nat Benjamin, an oil painting by Allen Whiting, an Island cruise with the Harley Riders, a Larry Hepler coffee table, two nights at the Dr. Shiverick Inn.

A sit-down buffet dinner was catered by V. Jaime Hamlin, who fashioned tasty offerings from ingredients donated by Cronig’s Market, Morning Glory Farm, Cackleberry Farm, Fiddlehead Farm, The Net Result, Scottish Bakehouse, and Reliable Market. Our Market, Your Market, and Tilton Rental also made substantial contributions.

“And don’t forget all the merchants and businesses who donated items, and took out ads in our program,” Ms. Young said, “the people who responded when we knocked on their doors.”

The mission of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard is “to meet the unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all who are facing advanced illness and loss, and to give them hope, comfort, and compassion.”

Now 29 years old, Hospice is supported entirely by donations. “We ask for no exchange of money between Hospice of M.V. and our families and patients.” Ms. Young said. “And we can give our services for free because the community supports us. And I think they know that and that’s why they do it. It’s pretty wonderful.”