THE ISLAND FOOD PANTRY 2015-2016 SEASON REPORT
Over the last several years, a downward trend has emerged. Our peak number of families ever (be it one or more persons) was 640; this followed the 2008-2010 recession. This season we had 450 families. Our peak income ever during our 2011-2012 season was $98,075. This season it was $92,145.
There is no clear answer for the cause. More people working? Fewer immigrants? Thankfully, the needs we were aware of were all met. Were there islanders needing to be served, but were not because they felt ashamed to request the service or too proud to request it or too concerned for the needs of others to request it? No clear answer emerges. If you, reading this report, know of someone who should be benefiting from the resources of the Food Pantry, encourage them to call the Coordinator at 508-696-8225.
Our Pantry visits totaled 2183 (last year 2240). The number of families served were 450 (last year 475). Our income went from $97,373 to $92,145. Our expenses were down from a record of $106,007 in 2012-13 to $86,670. Except for administrative expenses for building use, phone, thank you notes and a desk replacement, all money was used for purchasing food or $25 gift cards which we give once a month.
Rev. Helen Oliver inaugurated the Pantry as an outreach program of Christ United Methodist Church in 1981. In 35 years, it has expanded from a one-person effort to a ministry of more than 80 volunteers. The Pantry is supported by all the faith communities on the island, the Vineyard Committee on Hunger, by islanders, businesses, schools, summer visitors and organizations. The above is a wonderful and effective effort of cooperation and caring. We receive no government food or funds.
In ten out of the past nineteen years, we spent more than we received. Our Endowment Fund covered the shortages. Money in this fund was given in memory of Kevin Kennedy, Daniel Alisio and Sayan Kasem. Our goal is to maintain the original gift and use the growth in the endowment for income shortages or special projects as we did in making our entryway handicapped accessible. Hopefully, others will include the Island Food Pantry in their wills so we might meet future difficult periods for our island neighbors. In our efforts to communicate with both English and Portuguese speaking friends, we have a translator present on most days that we are open. Our web site islandfoodpantry.org includes our documentary created by Joshua Bernstein and his family.
We assisted 450 families representing nearly1,000 people on the Vineyard including at least 140 children. In addition, granola bars were provided to all the public schools for breakfast supplements. We averaged 82 visits a week.
Persons can come to the Pantry once every two weeks on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 2-4 P.M. from mid October to mid April. Emergencies are responded to throughout the year by appointment when people call the Pantry number (508-696-4764).
The Pantry has no paid staff. All gifts provide food for the island community. A contribution is made to the United Methodist Church of Martha’s Vineyard to help with the cost of heat, light and garbage removal. We have an advisory board and our books are audited each year. For the wonderful cooperation of the church and the community, I am sincerely thankful. Best of all, our volunteers have worked hard and kept a positive attitude. I am grateful to be a part of such a caring community.
Armen Hanjian, Coordinator
|THE ISLAND FOOD PANTRY / P.O. Box 1874 Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 / 508-693-4764|