Jenny DeVivo, head chef, cafeteria director up-Island schools


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.’

We always knew Jenny was an Everyday Hero, and it’s more evident than ever. Jenny and her lunch lady crew at the West Tisbury School prepare more than 1000 meals a week for Island children and families for curbside pick up, an increase from 500 meals when school was first cancelled due to the virus. She pivoted her school breakfast and lunch options to a Grab ‘n Go model and has continued to operate with the same philosophy of offering simple scratch-cooked meals. This powerhouse has always encouraged healthy and thoughtful eating, and now she’s providing that experience for the kid’s to enjoy at home.

Always an optimist, Jenny believes that the silver linings in all of this are that we learn that we can make do with less, and that we come to truly appreciate that food is love and giving is powerful. She says, “I feed my soul by feeding others.” the Island has never appreciated her more.

Randi Baird has been working 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 non profit organization dedicated to building a regenerative, equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard.