Food Pantry has a permanent home

The Dukes County Avenue site will serve as the permanent home of the Island Food Pantry — Courtesy IGI

Island Grown Initiative (IGI) announced Tuesday that the organization has purchased an Oak Bluffs warehouse that will serve as a permanent home for the Island Food Pantry. 

Currently, the Island Food Pantry is located at the P.A.Club in Oak Bluffs. Its lease with the Holy Ghost Association ends next year. 

IGI purchased the 114-116 Dukes County Ave. property for $1.7 million. The organization expects to spend around $500,000 more to convert the existing building, which will require significant renovations and improvements. 

“The pantry needs a secure location to serve the community,” IGI executive director Rebecca Haag said in a press release issued this week. “Converting an existing building saved IGI somewhere between three and five million dollars over building from scratch, and we’re not putting added pressure on local infrastructure … It was an opportunity we could not pass up.”

When completed, the new Food Pantry location will be able to accommodate large volumes of stored goods, and allow for accessible foot traffic. The site has onsite parking, and is on the VTA bus line. 

According to IGI, 91 percent of the pantry’s registered clients reside in the three down-Island towns, which makes the new location ideal. 

“Food insecurity on the Vineyard has grown exponentially,” IGI’s release says. “Twenty percent of Islanders pay more than 50 percent of their income on housing, forcing more and more families to seek food assistance, with elders and children making up one-third of the pantry’s client base. In 2019, the pantry had 742 unique visits a month; today that number has climbed to 2,000, with many choosing to shop or preorder online, with deliveries made by volunteers.”



  1. Hopefully this building will provide some space for weekly job fairs to help their clients climb out of poverty.

    • I am the Director of Food Equity Programs at IGI and former co-owner of the Little House Cafe. I am at the Island Food Pantry every day and the vast majority of those we serve are working. Our clients are landscapers, hospital technicians, bank tellers, childcare workers and Islanders unable to work due to lack of available and affordable child care. Many of these folks are paying more than 50% of their income to pay their rent. They just can’t make ends meet and need assistance to feed themselves and their families. Most don’t want to rely on the Pantry, but are grateful for the assistance. Like so many of us, our clients are contributing to our community in many ways but just need a little help to feed their families. We are happy to help.

    • ok, John– my last 2 efforts to comment here were deleted for some reason.
      So let me rephrase it-
      Perhaps you could take a little of your time and do some research to educate yourself about who and why people use the foodbank. Your right wing knee jerk reaction implying that these are all lazy people is disgusting.
      Is that ok Sam ?

  2. Amazing. This building has significant history in my family. The most recent incarnation was the Rock Club, “The Pit Stop Workshop Co.”. The Facebook page is still up, if you want to check it out. There was a movie screen and fancy schmancy projector, a killer sound system, a Hammond Organ, a piano. There were many great shows there. A benefit when Matthew Brown’s house burned down, song circles, Brad Tucker, Rob Myers, Kim Hilliard, Esperanza Spaulding, Frank and Cleopatra Wilkins, Willy Mason, Colin Ruel, King Cake and the Baby, featuring vocalist, Shelagh Hackett, The Yanks from NYC, who boasted the 3 times Irish Fiddle Champion, Dylan Foley, and national Accordion champion, Dan Gurney. Shellfish hatchery benefits, the premier of the Rock Opera, The Ape Woman was at the Pit Stop. Nina Violet recorded the album “We’ll be Alright” there, Matthew Cullen was the engineer, and Mathias Kunzli the percussionist. And this is but a partial list from my memory. The Pit Stop had been an automotive shop. Willy’s tour bus was built there. My brother Rick worked there for my children’s Dad, Don Muckerheide. He was the charming front man and did the oil changes. There had been a house on the property which Don moved and made into a handicap accessible home for his brother Alan Muckerheide. That the property did not sell and become short term rentals will encourage all of us.

  3. We all know how much Vineyard Real Estate has increased in price and as a reminder this was for sale 10 years ago at $900,000. Lucky for the owner no one wanted to buy it then.

  4. Bob, someone did buy it, was going to build a cabinet shop, have an apprentice program for MVRHS students, and employee housing, by renovating the house next door, which he also purchased. When renovating the house, The OB building inspector told him it was too unstable for renovation, and it had to be torn down. He did so and had a new foundation poured. However, somehow, this resulted in the MV Commission getting involved, who said he should not have torn down the house. He did not want to get embroiled with the Commission, moved his business off Island and put his properties back on the Real Estate Market.

  5. Getting off the boat in WH the other day I noted the vast amount of workers boarding the boat to come work on MV.
    15 years ago we were jokingly saying thank god we weren’t like Nantucket.
    We are there now and no one is laughing.
    Thank you for the food pantry and to all those that support the help needed to survive here

    • Why is it a problem for people to commute to the island for higher wages? This happens all over the state and the country. Workers commute for over an hour to Boston and New York and almost every city because the wages are better than in their hometowns. Wages on the island are far superior to those offered off island. This is somehow a problem? Let’s welcome these workers we don’t have to house and apparently now feed.

  6. Congratulations, I think that is a great permanent solution to a permanent need, and the fact that it is on the bus route and there is a delivery option is even better.
    It seems to me that job fairs could be held somewhere else, in my experience , lots of people with two jobs for two parents, totaling four jobs, are still in need of financial support for groceries , after they pay their rent, and buy clothing for their children. And our senior citizens deserve our understanding, respect and help if they are having trouble making ends meet.

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