Aquinnah: CERT volunteers, positive media, food pantries, egg hunt, and First Light Café

—MV Times

My friend Carla Cuch and I are part of the Aquinnah Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Our volunteer assignment is to oversee a daytime shelter, if it is ever needed, in case of an emergency. The warming/cooling center (depending on the season) won’t be providing meals, but we are to provide snacks and beverages geared toward the comfort of those seeking shelter. Being as how we don’t want to make anyone sick as we do so, we both signed up for the ServSafe Manager course.

The four-hour class was held at the Wampanoag Community Center, and was filled with people who were, mostly, already working within the food service industry. Carla and I were neophytes, and we were certainly not the youngest people there. Neither of us had taken a class that required a test in a long time, but in order to be certified, we had to take the test at the end of the class. Afterwards, we shook our heads and chuckled at how hard it was, and how certain we were that we hadn’t passed. But we did! We did! And I am ashamed to say, we were both quite proud of ourselves.

So now, if the big wind comes and your roof blows off and you need a warm place to shelter, please know that you can drink the coffee and eat the muffins — the volunteers in charge have a good idea on how to safely feed you.

I am glad that we can take care of our community here at home, but I feel real grief when there is scarcity of food, particularly for children. This is the case in Gaza. Scarcity there has reached a crisis level; people are already starving. Right now. Today. I am determined not to sink into despair, but to do what I can to help those who are doing positive work to fix things. I’ve read about the great work being done in Gaza by World Central Kitchen, which is doing its best to feed people there. They have a terrific track record, having delivered more than 350 million fresh, nourishing meals worldwide to people in the midst of disasters anywhere they happen. You might want to read more about them at; their creativity and courage will inspire you. Me? I’m comforted to know that they are there. I wish they weren’t needed.

There is a British website provided by journalists who are spreading the word about positive efforts taking place all around our globe. It can be found by typing into your browser. My heart lifted as I read through their site. Among the articles about projects and individuals doing great work to fix all the things that need fixing, they have a list of 12 groups working for Israel-Palestine peace. My favorite was the New Israel Fund, which supports survivors of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas while it also works to advance equality for all Israelis, including advocacy and good work in support of the 20 percent of the Israeli population that are Palestinian. Who knew? I mean, why don’t we read more about good people doing good work?

Here at home, a Serving Hands and Family to Family food distribution event will take place on Friday, March 29, from 1 to 3 pm, at 66 William St. in Vineyard Haven. If you need food, check in first at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church (off Franklin Avenue), and then please go and fill your market bags. Food isn’t just vital for your health, but it is a source of comfort, particularly when you know that it comes from the sharing of abundance by willing hands. Between this, the food library at the West Tisbury library, and IGI’s food pantry, there is no need for you or your family to be hungry.

For fun, on Saturday, March 30, from 10 to noon, you are invited to Misty Meadows for a Spring Egg Hunt. They’ll have face painting, prizes, and friendly horses to meet. You can buy a bag and fill it up with the eggs you find for just $5. This is for all ages, so bring the whole family.

Congratulations are in order to Del Araujo and the team at Aquila. Aquila is taking over the café at the M.V. Museum. The café is aptly named the First Light Café. Del is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe. The Wampanoag Tribe is known as “the people of the First Light.” It is not just appropriate that the café will be run by a tribal member, but it is also lucky for those who like good food and drink. The folks at Aquila always provide people with fresh and exciting food and drink. It’s a good move for both the museum and Aquila.

Birthday greetings to Jannette Vanderhoop on March 29, and to Heidi Vanderhoop on the 30th. On April 3, Ahsun Coby Vanderhoop and Amy Vanderhoop share a birthday, and on April 4, Gary Robinson celebrates.

This is the one-year anniversary of my column in The MV Times. What a year it has been. Life in our little town continues to enchant me. I am grateful.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,