From July 9 to August 17, Island Grown Initiative will offer free lunches to people of all ages at five locations around the Island, according to a press release. There will be lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the West Tisbury library from 12 to 1 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays at the Oak Bluffs library from 12 to 1 pm; and Mondays and Wednesdays at the Family Center in Vineyard Haven from 11:30 to 12:30 pm. Enrolled children at the Boys and Girls Club, along with the Martha’s Vineyard public schools English language learner summer program, will also receive free lunches.
Island Grown started the program in 2017 to ensure Island children have reliable access to the food they need while school is not in session. According to the release, over 40 percent of Island children receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year.
Noli Taylor, community food education director for Island Grown, said the program has been expanded this year to accommodate the increasing number of schoolchildren on free or reduced-price meal plans.
She said children aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the program this year. “It’s not just kids that need this program. It’s adults who work all day and can’t afford to buy lunches or maybe don’t have the time,” said Taylor.
Taylor said the program is meant to strengthen the community and bring people together. “People come around the table in a very special way,” she said.
The program has also grown from five weeks to six, and from three locations to five.
Over 100 volunteers help make the lunches, and the high school has donated the use of its culinary arts kitchen for preparation. The Edgartown Federated Church, the Food Pantry, the Hebrew Center, Good Shepherd Parish, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, We Stand Together, and the West Tisbury Congregational Church are all organisations that spearheaded the volunteering.
Lunches will include fresh produce from the Island Grown gleaning program, and will feature traditional central Brazilian food for a little twist.
This program was made possible by funding from the United Way of Cape Cod and the Islands, the Couch Family Foundation, and individual supporters.
Please see igimv.org for more information and a full menu.