As the coronavirus crisis continues to plague Massachusetts, the Island Food Pantry has stepped up to the challenge of helping Islanders affected — with a little help from a famous face.
Late night talk show host Seth Meyers announced in a video from the Island Food Pantry, reposted on the Point B Realty Twitter page that the Food Pantry is soliciting donations to reach a $7,500 goal, with the funds going to the food pantry. Each dollar raised equals $7 worth of food for the Island Food Pantry, according to the post.
We are less than $1,000 away from our $7,500 goal for Island Food Pantry for #givingtuesdaynow. Every $1 donated equals $7 WORTH OF FOOD. Special thanks to Island resident Seth Myers for helping this worthy cause – to give visithttps://t.co/iMKD8lg2Ji #welovemv #marthasvineyard pic.twitter.com/XrU4HxoQpp
— Point B Realty | Martha's Vineyard (@pointbrealty) May 4, 2020
“The Island Food Pantry is helping support Islanders during the COVID-19 crisis,” Meyers says in the video, “and if you can donate, please do.”
Point B decided to partner with Island Food Pantry for #GivingTuesdayNow, a worldwide giving initiative focused this year on COVID-19 relief. Because of the crisis, the Food Pantry’s resources are stretched thinner than usual.
“We’re ordering more than twice as much food as we did before the coronavirus,” said
Food Pantry executive director Kayte Morris.
Morris said visits are up nearly 250 percent since the crisis began, with almost 2,000 Islanders seeking help from the Food Pantry in April. “We’re doing everything we can to help new visitors feel welcome and accepted,” she said.
Although the pantry officially opens its doors at 2 on Monday and Wednesdays, a steady stream of people began stopping by an hour early last Wednesday, something Morris says is common, but not unwelcome. Organized volunteers shuttle pre-packaged bags of dry food, produce, and frozen foods from the interior of the Stone Church to the sidewalk, where visitors line up to give their numbers.
With extra visitors to the pantry comes a need for extra help. The Food Pantry has increased their shipment from the Greater Boston Food Bank to 17,000 pounds a week and have received extra produce donations from Vineyard Grocer. Morris says they’ve also had to recruit a new volunteer force, as only four of their normal 80 volunteers were able to work during the pandemic because of age or preexisting conditions that would make them vulnerable to COVID-19.
While Morris said they have enough volunteers for now, the Food Pantry always welcomes monetary donations on its website. The pantry is open Monday and Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm.