Aquinnah: Butternut squash surplus

— Kyra Steck

This past Sunday was Anne Vanderhoop’s 90th birthday and her family organized a birthday caravan to drive past her house and wish her all the best. It was a clear, cold day but sunny and luckily, no wind. We met at the town hall at 11:45 am and lined up in our cars. Many people made Happy Birthday signs, Virginia Yorke decorated a parasol and positioned it out her sunroof. Anne’s daughter-in-law, Lisa, was the official photographer. At noon we set off for Anne’s house. When we arrived, we saw Anne seated on her porch with a blanket on her lap smiling and waving at everyone like a queen. Juli collected cards from people in a basket. We drove past honking and cheering, looped around the Cliffs and came back past. It looked like Anne had a pretty good day. Happy Birthday, Anne, we are so lucky to have you.

If you have any leftover hearts or decorations from Valentine’s Day, you are welcome to bring them to Carl Widdis’ tree at his graveside. Pam Glavin keeps the tree up until April and encourages everyone to stop by and make a promise to do a good deed in Carl’s name.

Jannette Vanderhoop will be teaching a Zoom yoga class through the library on Saturday at 10 am through March 27. If you are interested email to register.

The Vineyard Transit Authority, in collaboration with the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, is offering free rides to people going to the hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If other vaccine sites open, the VTA will offer rides to those sites as well. Riders board the bus and tell the driver that they are going to the hospital to get vaccinated. If you are not on a bus route or cannot access the #13 bus (which goes by the hospital), simply call the VTA at 508-693-9440 and press #1, to schedule a pick-up. For more information on this program and VTA schedules, go to

Island Grown has a surplus of butternut squash that needs to be prepared and they need some help with preparation: peeling, cutting, and freezing. The squash will be used for Island Grown To-Go soups, baby food, and distributed to food equity partners on the Island. They have shifts this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There may be more shifts available in March. Prep work is done in the Jabberwocky kitchen in Vineyard Haven. All volunteers must wear masks and follow safety protocols. Please email if you would like to sign up for a shift or have any questions.

The Chilmark Parent Teacher Organization is holding its annual Outing Program Fundraiser virtually this year. They are in the initial phases of gathering local business sponsorships and auction items, so if you have something you would like to donate or if you would like to become a sponsor contact: Lisa Brown at This year’s event is titled “Hearts of Gold | Bids for the Kids,” a virtual auction to benefit the Chilmark School Outing Program. The auction will be held from March 15 to 21. This is the link to the auction:

Jim Newman will not be seeking reelection to the select board this year, he is stepping down after 18 years of service. Thank you, Jim, for your dedication to the town of Aquinnah.

Happy Birthday to Jo-Ann Eccher who celebrates on Tuesday, March 2. I hope all families with school age children are enjoying this February break. It’s been nice to have some snow, I’ve seen kids sledding at the Cliffs and having winter fun. I would like to say some inspiring words about how we have almost made it through the winter, but in truth, March is the toughest slog there is on this Island when it comes to weather, so I’ll just say: Hang in there.

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