Everyday heroes: Julie Fay

An ongoing series featuring the resilient men and women serving our community in crisis.

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While many are hunkered down at home, avoiding the public for each other’s benefit, there are a few who bravely risk exposure every day to serve our community. From the hospital employees providing care to the sick, the delivery drivers hauling supplies to the Island, the grocery store employees stocking the shelves, the school cafeteria workers and pantry volunteers providing meals for our vulnerable families — these are among the hundreds of people serving as critical lifelines for our community. Their efforts speak volumes for their character and dedication, and their acts of compassion and generosity serve as a silver lining amid a crisis we will never forget. I am compelled to capture them in their selfless moments of service, to share their stories and highlight their efforts, and to give a voice to these “Faces from the Front Line.”

Julie Fay, Executive Director Martha’s Vineyard Community Services

As executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), the Island’s social service safety net, Julie Fay is an everyday hero. Julie is on the forefront of maintaining the safety and security of our community’s most vulnerable residents at this critical time. In response to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and how the agency has had to adapt, Julie says, “It’s changed night and day.” She has worked tirelessly to determine the best way to continue to serve clients while keeping both them and their staff as safe and healthy as possible.

MVCS has continued to provide resources for mental health and substance use disorder, as well as counseling and crisis support for victims of domestic or sexual violence and many others — and their services have become more important than ever. 

Along with her staff, Julie has created a volunteer coordination program to help match organizations looking for volunteers and volunteers looking to help their community during this difficult time. As of March 16, Julie had organized her patient clinic staff to allow them to work remotely, outfitting them with laptops to provide telehealth services so that they could transition from seeing clients in person to clients online. The agency contacted their entire caseload, calling clients daily to check in and reinforce the agency’s support. Julie says, “I’m so proud of my staff and so grateful for the team spirit and the embrace of the challenges of this pandemic.

Their efforts speak volumes for their character and dedication, and their acts of compassion and generosity serve as a silver lining amid a crisis we will never forget. 

 

Randi Baird has worked as a professional photographer for three decades, and before moving to Martha’s Vineyard in 1995, worked as a photojournalist for Greenpeace. She is a visual storyteller, and her photographs serve as a means of communication, educating, and enacting social change. She is a regular contributor to magazines and journals on and off-Island, has produced photography for three cookbooks and is a founding member of Island Grown Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a regenerative, equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard.