Food Basket volunteers serve food and community

Junior+Jessie+Dlabaj+directs+food+packaging+at+The+Food+Baskets+of+MV+last+Saturday.%0ABy+Max+Potter+%0A

Junior Jessie Dlabaj directs food packaging at The Food Baskets of MV last Saturday. By Max Potter

Chloe Combra and Brooke Crocker

Last April, students from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) teamed up with the Good Shepherd Parish to serve pre-packaged food to the Island community through The Food Baskets of MV program. Ever since, the student volunteers have been dedicating their Saturday mornings to helping the community, both for the benefit of others during this difficult time and for themselves as well. 

Junior Alison Custer said, “I just love being involved in the community in any way. Especially since quarantine started. I was craving contact with people, safely. It’s just nice to work with people in a community program and help out in some way.” 

The program, which has been up and running for two years now, is intended to help anyone with food insecurity and is funded by a collaboration between Good Shepherd Parish’s outreach organization and the Greater Boston Food Bank. 

Prior to Covid-19, the program ran similarly to a grocery store where people were able to come in, choose their food items, and leave. Since lockdown was enacted it has now become a pre-packaged drive through where drivers line up to receive their choice of food in order to limit the spread of the virus. 

“We’re outside, we’re under a tent, and everybody is wearing masks, so I personally feel very safe,” said Alison. “There’s lots of space to be spread out and you come in contact with people a little bit [when you are] putting food in their cars, but masks are required.”

Junior Ingrid Moore began volunteering in June. She said, “We’re here to help as many people as we can, people who can’t help themselves—we’re just trying to keep them going.”

Due to the drive-thru nature of the distribution process, social distancing guidelines are easier to adhere to, and people are able to receive aid more privately. “The people that can’t get their own food [are] sometimes embarrassed by that,” said Ingrid. “Coming here, it’s discreet.” 

Sophomore Mark Clemente volunteers with his dad, who was already involved with the food disposal aspect of the program. “My dad has a big truck, so we throw [the broken down boxes] in and it’s pretty fun.” 

While many of the volunteers involved in the program are affiliated with the Good Shepherd Parish, Food Baskets of MV welcomes any and all volunteers and those in need.

“[We’re here] to provide food for anybody on the Island with need,” said program director Janay Dlabaj. “Anybody. We have to take a little bit of information from people, but it’s open to anybody.”