The Island Food Pantry is moving from its longtime home base at the United Methodist “Stone Church” in Vineyard Haven to the Portuguese-American Club (P.A. Club) in Oak Bluffs on Feb. 22, according to a press release.
In order to increase storage capabilities, improve the flow and variety of food, and become wheelchair-accessible, the pantry is entering into an agreement with the Holy Ghost Association, which owns the P.A. Club and the surrounding property, and Island Grown Initiative (IGI), which serves as the pantry’s partner organization. The decision to find a larger home for the pantry to meet the growing demand follows its merger with IGI on Jan. 1.
The pantry will enter into a two-year lease with the option to renew.
As always, the pantry will continue its mission of providing a reliable source of wholesome food efficiently and effectively to Islanders in need.
“It’s remarkable to bring this level of transformative change to the Island Food Pantry and its customer base so quickly following our merger,” Rebecca Haag, IGI’s executive director, said in the release. “The merger and now this important move for the pantry will strengthen the Island’s support resources for those who face food insecurity, and enable us to build a stronger, more integrated food equity infrastructure.”
Additionally, the release states, the new space will provide a more streamlined means of accessing shopping, and creates a safer environment for staff and volunteers during COVID.
And storage capacities for the pantry will also be increased — doubling the amount of fresh and frozen food that can be stored, creating opportunities for an added variety of offerings.
Kayte Morris, IGI’s senior program director of food equity programs, thanked the leadership of the Stone Church for providing a stable home to the pantry since 1981.
“Last year, the pantry served over 1,400 families, which is 50 percent more than 2019, and we clearly needed a new space to meet the Island’s ever-changing demands. This new location is a game-changer across the board for us,” Morris said in the release.
The Food Pantry’s hours of operation will remain the same: Monday from 2 to 4 pm, Wednesday from 2 to 6 pm, and Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm.