Today's Nantucket

Look for the Helpers on Nantucket Island

April 22, 2020 0 comments
Free Masks on Nantucket

UPDATED APRIL 26, 2020

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
― Fred Rogers

There’s no question that we all owe great thanks and, in some cases, our lives to the first responders on our island at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, at the Nantucket Police and Fire Departments, the EMTs, pharmacists, and the workers at island markets, grocery stores, trash collection companies, transportation, communication, town officials, and more, who keep going to work to make it possible for the rest of us to keep living our lives in this difficult time. WE APPLAUD YOU!

We’d also like to give shout-outs to others in our island community who are giving time and resources in their areas of expertise to help their island neighbors free of charge, even while they are dealing with their own unemployment, stressful situations, and beleaguered businesses.

Every day more island residents are offering to be helpers: if you know of an individual or group on Nantucket Island that also deserves a shout-out, please send us an email at info@nantucket.net.

The Nantucket Boys & Girls Club has announced a third round of their ACK Food Initiative. So far, they have given 212 meals to Nantucket families with the support of the Community Foundation for Nantucket and the Nantucket Hotel. On May 1, they will offer another 100 meals. Anyone who wants to be considered for this program should send an email to meals@nantucketboysandgirlsclub.org by 12 noon on Wednesday, April 29 with your name, phone number, known food allergies, and the number of people in your household. The opportunity is first-come, first-served.

When Clare and Laura Cunningham discovered recently that Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket’s (PASCON’s) annual Dreamcatcher event had to be canceled due to coronavirus restrictions, they wanted to find a way to give back to this organization. The money PASCON raises at their Dreamcatcher event every June funds free services they provide throughout the year to help persons with life-threatening illness and their families. Combining their talents, the sisters took a song entitled Grey Lady that Clare wrote and recorded with Floyd Kellogg at the Nantucket Music Center and turned this incredible song into a masterpiece with gorgeous visuals of Nantucket. “We had been saving it for a special project & even though we never knew what that project would be, we know now,” they explained.
Download the song on Amazon or iTunes. 100% of the proceeds will go to Pascon:
https://bit.ly/GreyLadyPascon
https://bit.ly/GreyLadyPasconiTunes
In addition, a number of island businesses are donating $1 to PASCON for every download.

Heather Woodbury of Wicked Island Bakery has started a GoFundMe page call Feed the Frontlines ACK that is designed to help our island community as well as Nantucket restaurants. Funds raised will be used to help feed those on the frontlines here on Nantucket — for example, on April 14, they fed the Nantucket Fire Department lunch after they worked 2 fires simultaneously early this morning. This effort has the added bonus of giving local restaurants much-needed sales to keep their takeout doors open.

Another local effort that helps residents and restaurants on the island is The Community Booster Program organized by the Nantucket Builders Association. Buy a $50 gift card at one of the participating Nantucket eateries, and the NBA will add an extra 20% value. Plus, partner establishments will donate 10% of their gift card proceeds to the Nantucket Food Pantry.

Care for Carers, spearheaded by Chef Neil Ferguson of American Seasons, is designed to thank the staff of Nantucket Cottage Hospital and to help island businesses, who have been hard-hit by the stay-at-home policy due to coronavirus. Ferguson seeking donations of gift cards to island restaurants, shops, salons, and other Nantucket businesses, to be bundled together and given on Mother’s Day (May 10) to 250 staffers at NCH, so that each person will receive a “tangible thank you.” As Chef Ferguson put it: ” I thought it would be a lovely thing to give them a little bonus gift as a show of appreciation… from the medical professionals to the office workers… all 250 workers at the hospital.” Donations can be emailed to neil@americanseasons.com – remember to put Care For Carers Donation in the subject line and include who it is from, exactly what the donation is, and the dollar value. Ferguson explains himself in this video:

Island restaurateur Patrick Ridge was among the first to volunteer his expertise and resources. Since Nantucket’s public schools closed, he has been bringing his Island Kitchen food truck to the high school to give out free breakfast and lunch to Nantucket students in conjunction with Nantucket Public Schools and Linda Peterson & her team. As Ridge has posted on his Facebook page: “To our Nantucket community, we are in the midst of uncharted waters. We are all dealing with emotions, and decisions that we have never faced before. We take comfort in the fact that we are not dealing with them alone. The strength of our community lies in our people, and there is no stronger, or more caring group of people. We WILL get thru this, and we will get thru it TOGETHER! We are here to help, however we can! Nantucket, please stay safe, and remember this is a time to come together, not come apart.”

Chefs & owners of Or, the Whale and The Sandbar have stepped up to lend their talents and resources to assist the Town of Nantucket and the Saltmarsh Senior Center with their expanded meal delivery program for seniors. Seniors who need meal assistance should reach out to the Saltmarsh Senior Center.

Chef Greg and Joy Margolis of the Nantucket Culinary Center at the corner of Broad & Federal streets are offering a “Get One, Give One” program on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: for each meal purchased by a customer, they will provide a meal to those in need. Call in your order to 508-221-6261 for curbside delivery. Click here to request a meal.

In an effort to meet the needs of many Nantucket residents during this COVID-19 crisis, the Community Foundation has designated funds within the Nantucket Fund for Emergency Relief to allow qualified nonprofits to be reimbursed the cost of meals purchased from local restaurants to be provided to their constituents, congregation, members, etc.

This food initiative encourages nonprofits and restaurants to establish partnerships. In turn, the Community Foundation will provide the nonprofit with a grant to reimburse them for the cost of the food. Anyone who wishes to donate to support this effort may make a donation to the Nantucket Fund for Emergency Relief . Nonprofits who wish to participate must receive authorization from the Community Foundation prior to engaging in a partnership with a restaurant. Reach out to Jeanne Miller (jmiller@cfnan.org) or Carlisle Jensen (Cjensen@cfnan.org) to learn more.

The owners of Espresso to Go have been offering free snack bags to Nantucket truck drivers (while they last) with this message “Thank you for keeping the world going right now!”

Cape Cod 5 announced that the bank will match up to $100,000 in community donations to local healthcare providers.  In less than 24-hours, the bank raised more than $1,500 of their current goal for Nantucket Cottage Hospital of $10,000. To donate in this matching program, visit their Cape Cod 5 Healthcare Support Challenge page.

Once Nantucket public schools closed, teachers were given a day to put together packets for each subject to support at-home schooling. Teachers have been hosting Zoom meetings with students a few times a week to stay connected and to allow them to connect with classmates. And teachers have put together lists of websites with learning resources. Each grade level made a Padlet for students to access work and prevent regression. In early April, island public school teachers will begin “remote learning” and will be teaching/supporting students through Zoom meetings. Parents may also check the district website for information and for a parents/students tab with remote home learning resources.

To help islanders meet the high demand for face masks, several local residents are sewing day and night to make colorful cloth masks they give free to their neighbors. They have even dropped off a number to health care workers. These masks are not N95, but can be used in less risky situations so that N95 masks can be saved for high-risk cases. Let’s Get Sewing is a Facebook group for islanders who sew, and they are accepting requests. They estimate their group has made and donated 2,000 masks since March 20 when Barber Brothers Furniture turned their woodworking studio into a sewing studio!

Other islanders who are making masks are also posting on the Nantucket Year-Round Community FB Group. One of these is Sarah Morneau, who restocks her supply of masks every morning. Those in need of a mask may pick one up from her porch at 87 Hinsdale Road. Morneau’s masks have been sprayed with disinfectant, individually packaged, and the packages have been wiped with disinfectant.

All those making and donating free masks would like their Nantucket friends & neighbors to remember, as Allyson Mitchell put it: “the benefit of masks in public is less about protecting oneself, but more about protecting each other. If we all wear masks, those of us who are sick and don’t know it, won’t spread it.” TO HELP MAKE MASKS: send an email to ackmasks@gmail.com and IF YOUR NANTUCKET BUSINESS NEEDS MASKS: send an email to nantucketletsgetsewing@gmail.com

Organized by island resident Grant Sanders, the goal of Nantucket Neighbor is to connect able-bodied people with those who need help in order to make sure the hospital and the police are not overburdened. These volunteers are ready and able to help in a variety of ways, from picking up groceries or meals to walking your dog. They can check on someone you care about. They will not put the volunteers in harm’s way by exposing them to someone who may be sick, but there are many things they can do. Nantucket Neighbor is strictly a volunteer operation and is not part of the Town of Nantucket or the State.

The dedicated and creative team at Nantucket Community Television is hard at work to bring Nantucket residents new and entertainment during these days of shelter-in-place. Viewers can stay up-to-date by watching town meetings and “Nantucket Pulse” with COVID-19 impacts to the island, sponsored by Nantucket Cottage Hospital Health Initiative. On April 1, two new shows that are ideal for our new normal will debut: Nantucket Pulse Wellness Series and Nantucket Cooks. To watch, tune into NCTV’s YouTube Channel.

Jason Bridges, island business owner and member of the Town’s Selectboard, helps to communicate and facilitate cooperation among islanders during morning chat & networking sessions he calls Coffee & Community with Jason. Participants can ask questions and request help with projects at 8 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Facebook and at 8 am on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday on Instagram @jasonmbridges.

Corona Song Challenge is the brainchild of Laura Cunningham and Lorna Dollery. It started out as a fun project to raise awareness among island residents and became a fundraiser for Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Cunningham and Dollery invite all Nantucket musicians and aspiring singers to accept the Corona Song Challenge. Once the challenge is accepted, participants have 24 hours to rewrite lyrics, make a video, and upload it to Facebook. Each person who uploads a video then challenges another to participate. “But anyone can join in,” clarified Cunningham, “the idea is to keep it going… The people in Italy singing from their balconies were so inspiring — we don’t have apartment buildings on Nantucket, so we are using Facebook to ‘sing from our balcony.’”

Bill Hoenk’s Nantucket Portrait Project is another fundraiser for Nantucket Cottage Hospital meant to “bring our community together virtually and with strict social distancing.” Hoenk, an island photographer, will come to your location to take a portrait of your family. He will not get too close and will not touch anything on your property. After the shoot, Hoenk will send you a link to your high-resolution image, suitable for printing, and, with your permission, post it to social media to help bring more awareness to this project. All he asks in return is for a donation to be made to Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Reach out to Bill to schedule your portrait.

Nantucket Front Step Project

Please reach out to us at info@nantucket.net if you know of more Nantucket helpers to add to the list.
In the words of Fred Rogers:

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”