Seasonal resident donates pizza for Islanders

Donation is a salute to Island frontline workers.

A seasonal resident of Martha's Vineyard is donating money to pay for pizzas at Pizza di Napoli in Oak Bluffs. - Gabrielle Mannino

An off-Island, seasonal resident has donated enough pizzas to feed 2,000 to 3,000 Islanders over the next few weeks in coordination with Pizza di Napoli in Oak Bluffs, which is owned by JB Blau.

The anonymous donor’s idea is to show appreciation for frontline workers. Six days over the next two weeks are set aside, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm each night, for them to register online on Blau’s Facebook page and pick up the free pizzas.

“We did an initiative of our own. We sent out 150 pizzas to unemployed restaurant workers. We were hoping someone would see that and pay it forward to others in the community,” Blau said. He received some donations that helped cover those costs and then the anonymous donor came forward with the idea to feed the community, he said. “We’re excited for that. They offered a generous donation toward the cause. We pledged to do it at our cost. We cover the rent, utilities, and the labor. They decided the six categories — essentially, all Islanders. It covers just about everybody. We are starting that up on Monday …. By the time it’s over, 2,000 to 3,000 will be fed.”

Here’s the schedule:

May 4: Construction, trades, housecleaner/home services sector, and commercial fishermen 

May 6: Hospital, police, fire, EMS, and first responders

May 8: Teachers, staff and employees of the public school system, including Charter School

May 11: Preschool, day care, after school programs and private child care providers (they are closed by the state until June 28)

May 13: Grocery store, gas station, pharmacy employees, UPS/FedEx and postal employees

May 15: “In case we missed you, know we miss you,” anybody not served in our previous groups

“We thought it was an amazing and beautiful donation,” said Blau, whose staff is producing the pizzas at cost. “We’d like to see more of this and less of the fear and the ‘us versus them.’ I’d like to see more ‘we.’ People who can’t be here love this Island, sometimes more than we do. We get in the day to day, the bickering; they come to enjoy their porches, the beaches, the shops. They deserve to be respected by us as much as possible.”

Blau is also working on an idea for a Cinco de Mayo toast, but the virtual forum is still to be decided. He had hoped to do it via Zoom, but there are limitations on the size of groups. He may do it as a Facebook live event. Stay tuned.