Aquinnah: The rest of us should stay home


“The world needs a wash and a week’s rest.”  –W.H. Auden
It looks like some of us are going to get that in the form of a stay-at-home order from our governor. I say some of us, because the hospital, first responders, police, and nonprofits that help the underserved are going to be working overtime combating the ravages of COVID-19 that will be apparent in our community soon. The rest of us should stay home and out of the way, and not spread this sickness that is highly contagious. So please, stay home, and maybe clean it and then rest. It’s not difficult, and it’s what’s good for your community.

Things are changing so fast here I wonder if any of the information in this column will still be relevant when it comes out on Thursday. But here goes: Even though we are all staying home except for going out once a week for groceries/prescriptions (right? That’s it? No sneaking around and socializing), there are services available for people that need them and opportunities for people to volunteer who can. Martha’s Vineyard Community Services has closed their physical space (except for emergencies) but they are hard at work. Here is a list of numbers to call for services:

For a mental health or substance use disorder emergency: 8 am to 6 pm, call 508-693-7900, ext. 241; from 6 pm to 8 am, call 508-693-0032. For a domestic or sexual violence emergency, call 24/7 crisis hotline at 508-696-7233 (SAFE). For food or other essential supplies, call 508-693-7900, ext. 410. Existing clients at the Island Counseling Center and Connect to End Violence are asked to call their clinician directly regarding new protocols.

M.V. Community Services is also spearheading the coordination of volunteers with organizations who need them. Go to to volunteer or if you are part of an organization that needs volunteers. Food security is a huge concern on the Island right now; the Island Food Pantry, Serving Hands, Island Grown Initiative, the churches of the Island, M.V. Community Services, the schools, and some other people and organizations I am probably forgetting are trying to ensure that everyone has what they need to eat. All these groups need donations, so if you have any extra, I know it’s tough right now for Islanders with so many businesses closed, please give if you can. Perhaps people who came to the Island to wait on the COVID-19 epidemic on our small Island with limited healthcare resources would be willing to make generous donations to any or all these organizations? It would go a long way toward making sure that we are all safe and fed.

For up-to-date information from each town, county, medical, and emergency group on Martha’s Vineyard on the COVID-19 virus, go to MVTV. The broadcast will be updated every other day, and will feature members of various Island groups with information they feel is important to the Vineyard community. The MV Times has a dedicated COVID-19 page on its site, as does the hospital. You can also turn to Islanders Talk on Facebook — most businesses and community leaders have been posting important information there, but be careful and don’t get sucked into a rabbit hole of negativity in the comments section.

There is a drive that started on Facebook asking contractors who have overstock of N95 masks to donate them to the hospital. If you have masks or other supplies to donate, such as gowns, email to coordinate intake and drop-off. Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands is looking for volunteers; you can call Michele at 508-693-4393 or email Craig Stewart at

Looking for things to do online, especially for your kids? The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival is sharing one family-friendly film a day on its website, The M.V. Museum will be sharing museum curriculum and activities at The Yard will be sending out art prompts to people on their mailing list. Once you have the prompt, you can create a song, poem, dance, short film, etc., and then send it to them at Pathways has closed its doors, but is continuing a version of their event schedule on their website by posting every Tuesday and Friday, videos or slideshows from past events, and livestreams and videos that Pathways participants will make. Go to for the schedule. All ACE MV classes have moved online, and some future classes have been canceled, but others are going to an online format; go to to see the offerings of classes.

Joanie LeLacheur is having a pop-up show by appointment only at various outdoor locations (and standing six feet apart). If you are in need of a piece of beautiful ocean jewelry for Mother’s Day, graduation, or for yourself as a quarantine pick-me-up, call Joanie at 508-645-9954 or 508-939–1691.

Happy birthday to June Manning, who celebrates today, March 26; this quarantine must be killing June who is always so busy volunteering, let’s all wish her a happy birthday to cheer her up. Jeffie Butler and Sheri Pagano were both born on March 27, and Heidi Vanderhoop celebrates on Monday, March 30. Stay home, everyone, and wash your hands!