Helping Islanders Through the Holidays

The Family to Family Holiday Meals Program will make sure all Islanders enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving dinner again this year

As the Thanksgiving Holiday nears, the people at the Family to Family Holiday Meals Program are asking Islanders to do what they do best – help other Islanders.

For over eight years, the Family to Family Holiday Meals Program has provided holiday meals to distressed families through the Serving Hands Food Distribution at the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven. Last Thanksgiving, they gave out 179 meals to over 400 individuals including 90 children. All told it added up to over 6000 pounds of food – much of that was locally grown and donated by the Island Grown Gleaners, Morning Glory Farm and Whippoorwill Farm.

This year, the program finds itself with substantially less in their bank account than in years prior. To use the words of Betty Burton who coordinates the Family to Family program, “We’re broke.” According to her pledge letter, “These are hard times. So hard, in fact, that the Family to Family program is only now paying the last of the due bill from our Spring meal distribution last April.” She said that for a moment they considered not having a Thanksgiving distribution, “But based on past experience, and the incredible support from the Pacheco family at Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs, who supply us, we are carrying on as usual.”

You can sponsor one family by contributing $25 - the cost of one meal basket. Every cent of that money goes to provide food. The First Baptist Church provides the use of its Parish House without charge, and all of the workers are unpaid volunteers.  

“Bob and Donna Pacheco (of Reliable Market) work with suppliers that know that the food is for those in need and therefore always give us the very best deal around. That is how we can do this for $25. Also the MV (IGI) Gleaners will be delivering squash and other fall produce from Morning Glory and Whippoorwill,” said Burton.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets will include: A Turkey, fresh apples, oranges, potatoes, carrots, onions, squash and eggs; stuffing mix, cranberry sauce and canned pumpkin.

The Thanksgiving distribution will take place on Friday, November 16th at 2 pm at the Serving Hands Food Distribution, at the First Baptist Church Parish House. And they expect to make a Christmas distribution as well, on December 21st.
“I can assure you that many families are barely hanging on and are depending on this program. I know because they call me asking for help,” said Burton. “This is such an amazing community event. I am so very proud to be a Vineyarder. We really do try to help out our neighbors that are in need. “ 

Please make your checks payable to the Vineyard Committee on Hunger (VCOH), and indicate on the "memo" line that your contribution is for the Family-to-Family Program. (The VCOH is a registered 501 c charity and contributions are tax-deductible.)

Mail to:


PO Box 4685
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

or you may make a donation on line:

Vineyard Committee on Hunger 

Questions? Please contact:
Betty Burton
508 693 5339



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