Community suppers: Comfort food

Add these meals to your schedule this off-season.


Our faith community knows that there’s a significant population here on the Vineyard that doesn’t enjoy the high living and “fun in the sun” vacation life that most outsiders associate with the Island. Housing, we know, is a significant problem, and so too is food scarcity, and Island congregations make sure that there are opportunities to get good food over the course of the week. Although some continue with takeout and delivery only, which they instituted during the pandemic, others have reinstated their in-person community suppers.

If you are looking for camaraderie along with your meal, you can start your week on Mondays at 5:30 pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown through the end of March. Father Chip Seadale reports, “The food is great, and the company even better!” Here, as with all the organizations, the dedicated volunteers behind the scenes are the key ingredient. They gather the food and prepare meals, which come from, among other places, Stop & Shop and, like the organizations, from the Greater Boston Food Bank. Additional volunteers help serve and clean up after the dozen to 35 diners. Seadale says about the chefs, “Their meals are better than mine at home.” Typically, there is a hearty soup, salad, fresh bread, a main course of fish or chicken, and various desserts and coffee to top it off. No signup is required, and if you prefer to get your food to go, contact the office at 508-627-5330.

First Congregational Church of West Tisbury provides 130 to 150 meals a week for takeout and delivery on Wednesdays, from 4:30 to 5:30 pm, through May. You can register for a meal for the month, or the whole winter. With all of these meals, Marjorie Peirce, who runs the program, emphasizes, “We could not do it without our 50-plus registered volunteers. The vegetables must be prepped, cooked, packed, handed out, and the kitchen needs to be cleaned up. It’s pretty phenomenal what we do in a humble abode — and a drop in the bucket. But a prepared meal for a lot of people is a lifesaver.”

She continues, “We used to make a sit-down dinner, but COVID stopped that abruptly. We still wanted to get the food out to the community. I can service more people this way, and I can’t imagine doing deliveries to all the towns along with a sit-down dinner.”

In addition to grants for the food and packing materials from Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation and Slough Farm, Cronig’s Market and Rosewater Market provide food. Peirce also obtains gleaned vegetables from IGI.

The fare, often bountiful enough for two meals, might be chili over rice, meatloaf, baked chicken, turkey, pork loin, or ham. However, they accommodate people’s ethnic beliefs and dietary restrictions. Peirce says that there are always plenty of vegetables, with a recent meal being beef shank and tomato vegetable sauce, roasted potatoes, broccoli, and local julienned carrots.

Another bonus is the prayer they include in every food bag. Peirce recalls, “Someone said to me, ‘I can’t tell if I’m looking more forward to the prayer or the food.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose.’”

Visit to register, or call Marjorie Peirce at 508-221-0314 or email

St. Augustine and the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven partner in providing takeout suppers from 5 to 5:30 pm on Thursdays at St. Augustine’s through the end of March. Funded with grants and support from the Hebrew Center, they currently serve some 60 meals, with the numbers going up to as many as 90 as the season progresses. James McDonough, who works at Mocha Mott’s and is a private chef, prepares the nutritious meal with food from Good Shepherd Parish’s food pantry, and always ends with a homemade dessert. Contact 508-684-6270 to sign up.

Friday evening is covered by Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven, with pickup between 5 and 5:30 pm through Good Friday, March 29. Leslie Frizzell, the program coordinator, says they get a lot of ingredients from the M.V. Food Basket, and also receive donations from IGI, congregation members, and sometimes people who get the meals. Averaging at least 50 meals per week (along with the 20 they deliver to the homeless shelter), Frizzell relies a lot on volunteers. They post the menu on their app, Facebook page, and website by Wednesday. Sign up through their app (available through, or call the church at 508-693-0332.

Starting on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 5:30 pm, you can gather with others at the United Methodist Church community suppers at the Oak Bluffs church through the end of March. (Call 508-693-4424 for information.) Sandy Joyce, member of the community supper team and co-chair of the leadership team, is overjoyed about the program this year, which has served as many as 60 to 65 people in the past: “We’re just thrilled to say that we’re once again going to have in-person community suppers.” In terms of food, their tagline for the season is “Simple Saturday Suppers.” “We aren’t looking to be a gourmet restaurant, but providing comfort food that’s healthy,” Joyce says.

Although several people from the church will be cooking, the committee will reach out to chefs at local restaurants, as they have in the past, to see if they would like to help support the program by preparing a meal during the season. In addition to food from IGI and the Greater Boston Food Bank, they obtain donations from members, the United Methodist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, and money from the donation jar at the suppers, where diners can contribute if they wish.

Joyce says, “We’re so pleased to be getting back to in-person, not just for folks who need a meal, but for the community that it builds. Our people who came regularly in the past looked forward to it. They could sit down and meet their friends, and felt like they were getting a night out and a great meal. That was obviously lost during COVID. We did takeout only for the last two years, but the food is as important as the sense of community that the suppers bring to people.”

Monday: Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, through the end of March, at 5:30 pm (in-person, no signup required). Call 508-627-5330 for information.

Wednesday: First Congregational Church of West Tisbury through May. Pickup from 4:30 to 5:30 pm, delivery available. Visit to register, or call Marjorie Peirce at 508-221-0314, or via email at

Thursday: St. Augustine’s in Vineyard Haven, supported by the Hebrew Center, through the end of March. Pickup at St. Augustine from 5 to 5:30 pm. Sign up at 508-684-6270.

Friday: Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven, through March 29. Pickup between 5 and 5:30 pm. Sign up through their app (available at, or call 508-693-0332.

Saturday: United Methodist Church in Oak Bluffs. In person starting Jan. 13, at 5:30 pm. Call 508-693-4424 for information.