Our Caring Community

Published by Robin Slick, April 10, 2020

While small businesses rethink and rework how they will sustain themselves and their employees during this precarious time, many have also found creative ways to help others in the community. In addition to businesses, many individual residents of this magical island have also been resourceful in finding ways to give back. It’s truly amazing to see how one person’s idea can mobilize others to get involved in all sorts of ways. A sense of purpose will undoubtedly raise anyone’s spirits. Here are some special ways our islanders have been of service and have shown their appreciation for their fellow friends and neighbors.

Helping Our First Responders

Here are some of the many ways Nantucketers are acknowledging our first responders who continue to risk their safety in order for the rest of us to sustain ourselves.

91402317_2985727504820960_2895223538539560960_nDrawing by Iris Palencia - "Thank you, Essential Employees of Nantucket!"

Other drawings, letters and videos expressing sentiments of gratitude can be found at this Padlet link

"Feed the Frontlines ACK"

This Gofundme fundraiser aims to provide meals from health department approved local restaurants to those on the frontlines, while also giving local restaurants much needed sales to keep their takeout services open. According to organizer, Heather Woodbury, Owner of Wicked Island Bakery, "The last thing our neighbors need as they work the frontlines is to worry about packing a meal, or getting to the grocery store after a shift." To donate to the amazing effort go to their Gofundme link

"Care for Carers"

Neil Ferguson, Owner of American Seasons, looking for a positive upbeat, kind and helpful way to give back, came up with the idea of a gift drive for the 250 workers at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. After consulting with the hospital, through the month of April, gift packages will be put together for the hospital staff and will be delivered on Mother’s Day. To show your appreciation for the amazing team at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, here are ways to participate. If you own a business you can donate either a gift card or your time and services. Individuals, or a group together, can buy a gift card from a local restaurant or business and donate that to the gift drive. Please email neil@americanseasons.com and write "Care for Carers Donation" and include who it is from, exactly what the donation is and the dollar value.

Helping Our Seniors

From large and well organized efforts to smaller acts of kindness, our residents have come together to help make sure our senior community is looked after during this most vulnerable time for them.

"Live Music at Our Island Home"

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Jim Sultzer, retired school teacher and novelist, volunteered his time to perform a live concert via Zoom for residents at Our Island Home.

"Expanded Senior Meal Delivery Service"


Local restaurants, Or, the Whale and The Sandbar teamed up with the town of Nantucket, Saltmarsh Senior Center & the First Congregational Church to deliver free meals to community members who are over 60 years of age and not already receiving Meals on Wheels. In their first two weeks they delivered 738 meals! To donate to the program please go to the Nantucket Fund for Emergency Relief.

"Emergency Relief Food Initiative"

Although not specific to our seniors, and mentioned just above, the Community Foundation for Nantucket is modeling their reimbursement initiative after the incredible partnership between Or, The Whale and the Saltmarsh Senior Center. In an effort to encourage nonprofits and restaurants to establish partnerships where the nonprofit purchases pre-made meals from a restaurant and distributes them to their constituents, the Community Foundation will provide the nonprofit with a grant to reimburse them for the cost of the food. ReMain Nantucket has generously pledged to match all new donations up to $250,000. Giving now doubles the impact of your donation! The goal of this fund is to sustain critical care and services during this pandemic. To donate to support this effort please click here and to apply for food reimbursement click here.

Helping Our Community at Large

Highlighted here are more assistance programs centered around food for our kids, families and others who may be having a rougher time than usual. 

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Among the first to volunteer weeks ago when the public schools closed, Patrick Ridge, Owner of Island Kitchen began bringing his food truck to the high school to give free breakfasts and lunches to Nantucket students. He posted a beautiful sentiment on his Facebook page that describes our caring community. "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."

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Nantucket Culinary is offering on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays "Family Meals" delivered free to you and your loved ones. When you purchase a meal, this inventive "Get One, Give One" meal program will provide a matching meal to a local family through a generous donor and fund. To request a meal confidentially click here

"200 Easter Holiday Meals for Our Islanders"

The Spiritual Heritage Nantucket Board, in keeping with their Nantucket Community Dinner motto "Be Devoted to One Another in Love" sponsored a free "Community Take Out Easter Brunch" in partnership with The SeaGrille. With all meals already requested for Sunday, organizer Shellie Dunlap, encouraged the community to share this effort by posting on Facebook to friends in need and to assist elders or neighbors in responding if they didn't have electronic capability. Also, requested was the help of volunteers to deliver the meals to those unable to pick them up.

Individual Responses to Offer Assistance

One needs only to look at the many Facebook posts from the group Nantucket Year Round Community to see the ways in which islanders have, either on their own or in groups, given back. Here is only a small snippet of generous acts of loving kindness.

"Stepping Up to Make Face Masks & Face Shields"


Free face masks from Linda Humphries


Free face masks from Sarah Morneau

With the high demand, local residents have been sewing masks for their neighbors and friends. Sarah Morneau and Linda Humphries offer their free homemade masks to those in need by having people come pick up the individually packaged and disinfected masks. The appreciation from the community has been overwhelming as evidenced by the heartfelt comments on their posts. Organizing even further, "Let’s Get Sewing," a Facebook group for islanders who sew, has been created to help coordinate requests for masks. 

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In addition to masks made with love from our islanders, Nathan Johnson has been busy making face shields available free for anyone who needs them. The masks are "hospital use" approved and he continues to make more for both the hospital and the community. He advises that shields should be worn with a mask to protect the eyes and face. To request a shield go to Kristen V. Johnson’s Facebook page and she will have them outside with your name on it for pick up. As you can see from the comment below on her page, they are ideal for anyone working with the public and Kristen even offered to drop them off for this woman who works in the medical field.

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"Just a Couple More Loving Facebook Posts...."

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More Websites to Help or to Find Help

Town of Nantucket

The Town's official page offering services for island residents surrounding specific needs related to the pandemic. 

Nantucket Neighbor

Organized by island resident Grant Sanders, the goal of Nantucket Neighbor is to connect those looking to help with those who need help in order to alleviate  over burdening the hospital and the police. These volunteers are ready to help in a variety of ways. They can check on someone you care about, pick up groceries or meals and walk your dog! 

Nantucket Community

"Come together, while staying apart!" is the tag line for the Nantucket Community website. While offering ways for islanders to stay connected, also available are resources for those in need of help and ways that you can help.

From all of us here at Congdon & Coleman, we hope that you remain safe and in good health. Recognizing that we are all in this together, please contact our Team if we can be of assistance with any questions or concerns that you have. 

About Author

Robin Slick

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