Aquinnah: Support for local nonprofits

— Kyra Steck

As I write this, I have three boys doing Zoom school in my living room and on my deck, I am in a Zoom meeting (video off, since I’m also writing), I’m still in my pajamas, and I’m not sure anyone has brushed their teeth. The boys did make their own breakfast and lunch, although one of them (they are all 13) did take my husband up on his offer of coffee. I’m not sure if coffee is OK for a 13-year-old, but there didn’t seem to be any adverse effects. While this situation is a little chaotic, it is wonderful to see my son with his friends doing school together — a full school day on Zoom is hard alone, and this seems like a good solution until they can be reunited with their classmates and teachers physically later next month. It’s going to be worth the cleanup that I will be doing later today. How is remote school going for everyone else? I would love to hear about it.

At 7:30 am this Friday, Sept. 25, there will be an Earth Flag Raising Ceremony at the Aquinnah Circle in recognition of International Climate Strike Day. People are encouraged to come and share their thoughts and inspiring calls to action on climate change. I know there is a lot going on these days, but the health of our planet is surely the most pressing issue. Join us in taking a moment out of your day to contemplate where we are, where we are going, and how we can be changing a disastrous course.

Due to the pandemic, nonprofits across the Island are feeling the pinch. Some of them were able to hold virtual fundraisers, but others were not, and all could use some extra support this year. If you have some extra money to give, remember we do have some wonderful nonprofits here in town. The Gay Head 10K was canceled back in the spring, (although please feel free to run 10K if you are so inclined). The proceeds of the race go to the maintenance of the lighthouse. Between the lighthouse being closed this summer and the race being canceled, funds for the maintenance of the lighthouse may fall short. There are a couple of ways to donate; you can write a check to the town of Aquinnah with “Gay Head Lighthouse restoration” on the memo line (send it to the attention of Sophia Welch, assistant administrator, at the Town Hall) or use the donation button on the website.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center was unable to hold its annual fundraising dinner this summer, and while there is talk of a virtual Native Artisans Festival closer to the holidays, nothing has been finalized. The ACC does a wonderful job of educating about Wampanoag culture and preserving its legacy. I have missed their programming greatly this summer, especially the Native Artisans Festival. Mail donations to Aquinnah Cultural Center, 10 Black Brook Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535, or donate via the website at The Friends of the Aquinnah Library assist the library in upgrading the interior of the library, programming, and new projects. If you would like to support the library, you can write a check to Friends of the Aquinnah Library and mail it to Aquinnah Town Hall, 955 State Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535.

The Aquinnah library is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from noon to 4 pm for contactless pickup. It will host a Zoom book group this Thursday at 3 pm to discuss Geraldine Brooks’ “Caleb’s Crossing.” Every Saturday at 11 am, there is a Zoom craft hour, and every Tuesday at 3 pm, a kid’s hangout. If you are interested in any of the library’s Zoom programming, email Julia at

This Saturday, Sept. 26, from 11 am to 2 pm, the West Tisbury library will be holding a “Pop-Up Library” in the parking lot. This event is free and open to the public. The purpose of the Pop-Up Library is to make library materials more accessible to families due to the library’s COVID-19 closing. Children’s and young adult materials, along with adult books and DVDS, will be available for contactless browsing. Librarians will be available onsite to help browsers pick their next reads. Onsite checkouts will be available for patrons to bring books home and enjoy. This event will take place in the library parking lot under a tent, weather permitting. Rain date is Saturday, Oct. 3. The Friends of the West Tisbury Library will also be giving away prepacked children’s book bundles, based on reading level and interest. These books will be available through contactless pickup for families to keep and enjoy. Please bring your library card or ID. You can also sign up for a library card if you need one. Books may not be touched by patrons until the material has been checked out, to limit the possibility of spreading COVID-19. Please wear a mask and keep six feet from others.

Some amazing people in town are having birthdays this week. Happy birthday to Jeffrey Madison, who celebrates on Thursday, Chef Andrew Burkill of the Chilmark Tavern on Friday, and Spa on Saturday. Happy birthday, gentlemen (I figure since it’s their birthday week, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt).

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Molly Purves,