Waterside Market in Tisbury is offering free Easter meals to first responders and health care workers, and is asking for the Island community to contribute to the cause.
The idea was launched when Tisbury couple Wiet and John Bacheller were walking their dog down the street (while maintaining a safe distance) and saw their friends, Steve and Susan Bowen, who own Waterside Market.
John spoke about a program in Washington D.C. he’d heard about, where restaurants were providing meals to frontline workers, and Susan said she was sure they could bring the idea to the Vineyard and help our local heroes.
Wiet called the folks at Waterside “absolutely generous and kind,” and told The Times the response from just her close circle of friends has been overwhelming.
“The community is incredibly giving and generous, we live in a special place,” Wiet said.
Steve explained a little about the Easter meal program, saying that he hopes to continue feeding frontline workers, not just for holidays, but for whenever they might need.
“We want to do something once per week for our frontline workers. So many customers and people from the community have already called and purchased meals to donate. My wife Susan really motivated everyone to make it happen,” Steve said.
And Steve said his loyal and hardworking employees at Waterside were immediately galvanized by the idea, and wanted to help in any way they could.
“My team here is so enthusiastic about this effort, everyone is totally on board,” Steve said.
Just for Easter dinner, Steve said the restaurant has already vowed to provide 50 family dinners to first responders and medical personnel. Because each family dinner from Waterside serves anywhere from four to six people, Steve said that’s a little over 200 people.
Although Steve said he originally had the idea to donate the meals himself, he heard from folks who were eager to donate funds to help those Islanders who risk their lives to save others.
Each family dinner (feeding four to six people) costs $100, and dozens of Islanders have donated. Even though Steve said he had to cut off the number of family meals at 50 based on supplies and abilities of his crew, he said any money that people donate now will be used for initiatives in the very near future.
“We are going to be working with some of the other Island restaurants and see if we each can do something once a week for the workers,” Steve said. “We all have to get through this together. It’s terrible for business, it’s terrible for people. But by doing this and hopefully continuing it, we can kind of give people a voice to give.”
Steve noted the selflessness of the Vineyard community, and the overwhelming willingness to give.
“Right now I am taking donations and setting up a tab on our computer for the fundraiser,” Steve said. “Most people have contributed $100, which buys one full [family] meal. But I have had plenty of people donating $25 dollars, or whatever they can. It’s just to cover the cost of the food.”
Steve ended by saying that the Vineyard community is strongest when they are together, and that our frontline workers need the support of an entire Island.
“This is really about networking and creating a web of support for these people, everyone on the Island is so willing to help,” Steve said.