Island Councils on Aging

Vineyard Haven MA
PO Box 1729 Vineyard Haven MA 2568

Phone: (508) 693-4120


In addition to other services, the four Senior Centers on Martha’s Vineyard offer four of the five emergency food pantries on the island. (The Island Food Pantry, located at the United Methodist Church in Vineyard Haven is the fifth.)

The Emergency Food Pantry Program strives to provide a variety of free nutritious foods to needy Islanders of all ages.

Island Councils on Aging is responsible for coordinating the ordering, pick up and delivery of monthly shipments of surplus food from the Greater Boston Food Bank to these pantries. The Edgartown and Oak Bluffs Highway Departments, and the Tisbury Dept. of Public Works volunteer a truck and personnel on a rotating basis, to make the monthly trips to Harwich for pick up of the food supply. The Steamship Authority supports this program by offering free passage for the truck and personnel each month.

Recent years have seen a growing number of struggling families seeking the food provided through this program. In FY08, over 4,000 pounds of food (canned goods, fresh and frozen) were brought to the Island and distributed monthly through the emergency food pantries. Much of this food is free; however, some is purchased at reduced cost. In FY08 approximately $3000 was spent on the purchase of food. ICOA received a $2000 grant from Project Bread through the Walk for Hunger and $950 in donations from the Vineyard Committee on Hunger to offset the cost of food and to help cover the costs of the home delivered holiday meal program.

The Emergency Food Pantry program serves an average of 300-350 individual islanders, including children and elders, per month.