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Tips from Interior Designers to Reimagine Your Home

One of our favorite things about providing architectural photography on Martha’s Vineyard is collaborating with the talented interior designers that work on many of the homes we capture. When we shoot for architecture we are capturing the design and construction of a building, a structure that should speak of its time and place and the life of inhabitants. We’re also capturing the interior design, the thoughtful details that complement the architectural features and really define the space and its purpose, while highlighting certain elements and personalizing the space for those lucky enough to live in it. 

Many of the homes we capture are new construction, some are renovated historic homes, with stories to tell from generation to generation. Interior design allows the same space to be freshened up again and again, and regardless of the space you live in some interior design tips can really go a long way. These days we are spending more time at home than ever before. It is important to cultivate a space that reflects your personal style and supports the activities you’re performing there, not to mention a place to unwind.

As spring approaches we wanted to share some practical interior design tips from some of the talented designers we work with, whose incredible eyes can transform spaces, create harmony, evoke emotion, and curate places you’d never want to leave. Try adapting some of their tips to help reimagine your home this season and maximize the potential of the walls you’re within.


Mary Rentschler of
Rentschler Company Interiors, Martha’s Vineyard. Check out this fascinating story about a historic home in Chilmark Marcy recently styled that we had the pleasure of photographing. 

  • Be strategic about how you’re using your home. Assess where you spend the most time and ask yourself what activities you do there. Don’t be afraid to consider changing a room’s function as needed and adjust your floor plan and furniture layouts accordingly. Figure out ways to make spaces more functional and visually appealing with good lighting, comfortable seating, and be sure to create a place to work away from the fray of a busy household.

  • Restyle the shelves in your house and make new use of things you already own. In the kitchen add interesting unpredictable objects such as small mirrors, paintings, or objects you can source from elsewhere in your house. Restyle your bookshelves (especially if they’re on display on your Zooms!) and add some new memorabilia, photos, vases, natural treasures such as shells, rocks and feathers. Cull some unread books from your bookshelves and make new groupings on your coffee table. 

  • Update your textiles. Source new throw pillows, throws, pillow cases etc. Find vintage fabric to drape over the back of your couch, or layer at the bottom of your bed. Hunt down some fun new towels or recycle others from your linen closet. Change it up, mix it up and layer with texture and pattern. 

  • Paint an accent wall. Select a wall in your front hall or bedroom or somewhere that will enliven a forgotten space. Don’t be afraid of COLOR, especially after a grey winter! 

  • Create user friendly and attractive ways to organize. Stash important things in ottomans with storage, beautiful baskets and use visually attractive containers to store things you need to access.


Megan Weeks of
M Weeks Design, servicing Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and Manhattan

  • Invite the outdoors in. Nature provides the very best design elements. Snip some greenery and place in pottery or tall pitchers.  It needn’t be elaborate; a solitary leafed branch in a clear glass can be stunning. Plant fresh herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, and lemon verbena in small pots or boxes, and place inside on your kitchen windowsills.  They’re beautiful, decorative, and fragrant, and having them easily within reach will inspire you to use and enjoy them.

  • Revitalize something you already own. For those of you looking to invest a little DIY time in a project that’s quick and satisfying, consider dedicating an hour or two to transform a wooden piece you already have—such as a mirror, stool, or side table—with chalk paint.   Chalk paint comes in a range of lush colors and is very easy to apply; there’s no need to prime — just paint! It dries quickly and is extremely forgiving. 

  • Indulge in something useful, colorful and delightful. Freshen and brighten your home for spring by adding a cheery and welcoming rug in your entryway, bright cloth napkins to your table, or decorative pillows and throws to your bedrooms and seating areas. If your walls need a refresh, create some simple but impactful art by framing colorful handmade papers or wallpaper (options aplenty on Etsy and Amazon). Consider repainting your front door, as the gateway to your home, your door is the perfect place to go big and bold with color. Why not choose a color for each side – one color for welcoming, and another for departing.

  • Place beauty where you’re busiest. On your desk and within sight of the kitchen sink, create a few vignettes that bring you joy and tranquility. A cherished photograph, a smooth beach stone, an elegant candle can re-center and transport you.

  • Remember to be gentle with yourself and those around you. This has been an incredibly tough year all around.  Try to give yourself little wins and glimpses of beauty when and where you can.


Susan Bielski of
Susan Bielski Design

  • Give your Quarantine Spaces some color. Liven it with a fresh coat of color, and punctuate it with a new pillow cover or a plant. I think that color really sets the tone for any space you enter.

  • Declutter. For months your winter reading from cookbooks to magazines have been piling up. If you’ve read it, recycle it. If you haven’t read it yet, ask yourself if you really need or want to; toss it or pass it on. Pick up, put away, containerize, or toss. Purging and organizing is a great morale booster, so give yourself a simpler space to breathe in.

  • Create an outdoor space you can spill into. Once the sun warms up you’ll want to be out there and a small bistro table and chairs could be your new Zoom Room, or a place for that end of day refreshing beverage. Shop the thrift stores or your own garage for someone’s hand-me-down porch seating. Add potted flowers or a container of tomatoes and feel the spirit of spring!

  • Don’t let work follow you everywhere. If you’re working from home it’s great to know you can move your laptop and virtually work anywhere, but you really need to designate a non-work area; a place to unplug and not engage with the mechanical/technical world.

  • Give your Kids a ‘free-zone.’ They’ve been stuck inside too. Give them a space where they know they can just play and hang out, and not have to follow the rules of being in a Zoom Room. It could be a reading nook filled with throw pillows and a colorful yoga mat, or a tent where they can hide from the same technology and noise we all want to run from!

Planning a Martha’s Vineyard Wedding in 2021

One thing’s for sure, there’s no stopping love, even in times of COVID. With 2021 upon us and many restrictions still in place, we wanted to share some tips for planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding, even in the current environment. Instead of focusing on those elements of your wedding day that might be compromised this year, we want to focus on all the positive things and the silver linings that can make for an even more meaningful day.

The Natural Beauty of Martha’s Vineyard Can Be Even More Appreciated 

Martha’s Vineyard has long been a popular wedding destination and its allure is even greater in the age of social distancing. The most significant attraction of Martha’s Vineyard is its natural beauty, making the Island the perfect backdrop for your special day, and lending itself well to outdoor events. 

What could provide better ventilation than an open-air Island affair, with the clean ocean breeze wafting through? Some of our favorite outdoor venues include our local beaches like The Inkwell and Lambert’s Cove Beach, as well as the Allen Farm, Captain Flander’s House, the historic Tabernacle, one of our many iconic lighthouses, and the various yacht and beach clubs. Here’s a roundup of more Martha’s Vineyard wedding locations, many of which offer an outdoor venue option. 

The Benefits of Keeping It Small are Big

These days it’s safer and more responsible to keep your event small, not to mention larger events can go against constantly changing state guidelines. We’ve always been big fans of smaller weddings or micro weddings, and elopements too. They are just as significant but more intimate, and often less stressful and more affordable than the large and lavish variety. 

Many of the brides and grooms we worked with in 2020 were forced to host smaller events because of COVID, but in hindsight, the event proved to be everything they wanted, and they didn’t miss the fanfare of a larger event. Often the pomp and circumstance of a larger wedding can overshadow the basic meaning of a wedding, which at the core is a celebration of a couple’s love and future together. 

Sure your guest list will need to be trimmed but those closest to you can still attend, and you can get creative with inviting folks virtually. One of our couples in 2020 successfully had 225 onlookers via Zoom watched them tie the knot in Oak Bluffs! And with fewer people on location, we were able to spend more time photographing the newlyweds, moving from location to location, as they basked in their newlywed bliss, instead of having to stay tied to a strict agenda on their special day. Doesn’t an afternoon enjoying your new husband or wife all to yourself along the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, in front of our historic sites, or atop or beloved lighthouses sound dreamy? 

With a smaller group to host it means fewer logistics for you to manage, and can make the event more affordable too (not to mention more eco-friendly!) Given the smaller size and scale of your event, your options and vendor pool can significantly increase. Some venues might not even be able to accommodate a large group, but once your numbers go down you realize there are even more places to tie the knot than you had thought. Or maybe there’s a preferred caterer or private chef that you can swing with a smaller headcount. Many of them offer cooking classes too, which could prove to be a fun interactive activity to enjoy together. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to take your family on a private sunset cruise or a fishing excursion. A smaller guest list means more creative and innovative add ons for your affair. 

And when it comes to lodging many of our intimate inns and bed and breakfasts can function as venues too. With less people to manage you can consider buying out one of our smaller local accommodations like the Nobnocket Inn or the Hob Knob Hotel, where you can house your guests and conduct the ceremony, keeping everything centralized to one location and eliminating the need to manage additional logistics, which means less stress.

 

Wedding Planners are More Valuable than Ever

Another way to mitigate the stress of your special day is to hire one of our local rockstar wedding planners. Even though your event may be smaller in size and scope, there are the constant nuances of hosting the big day on an island with limited resources, and things can get really complicated, and are always more expensive. Couple that with a pandemic that means constantly changing plans and adapting to new restrictions and things can get hard to manage on your own. 

Even in the “normal times” the benefits of hiring a wedding planner on Martha’s Vineyard are even greater than they might be off-Island, quite simply because they get it. Our Island can be hard to navigate–geographically, politically, and socially. Just getting here requires extra work so you better believe what happens here does too. They are knowledgeable, well connected, and quite literally make it their job to master the ins and outs of executing flawless events on Martha’s Vineyard, amid a pandemic and in normal times too. Check out our roundup of local wedding planners and their tips for your big day. 

This is all just the beginning and we wish you the best in the wedding planning process. Keep calm, carry on, and remember–the best is yet to come, even if it means compromise!

If you’re currently planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding make sure to read through our other helpful blog posts on the subject, including Special Considerations for Planning a Wedding on Martha’s Vineyard, Wedding planning on Martha’s Vineyard, Microweddings on Martha’s Vineyard, and You’re Engaged, Now What?. For additional resources on planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding visit mvy.com, and mvislandweddings.com.

2020: The Year of the Fearless Female

This year has presented a tremendous amount of challenges, but it has also created a number of opportunities, especially for those with enterprising spirits. From where we’re sitting we’ve noticed a majority of them have been females.

This year has been a historic one for women. It marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. We saw our first female vice-president-elect in Senator Kamala Harris, AND for the first time in US history, the president-elect has chosen an all-female senior communication team for the White House press staff. It’s some seriously exciting stuff.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the incredible work and adaptability of fellow fearless females has been inspirational and motivational. At Randi Baird Photography everyone from our bookkeeper to our marketing director, and many of our assistants over the last 20 years have been female, and it’s a tremendous point of pride for us. We work hard to continuously cultivate a supportive network of women to not only advance our business but to empower those that help us do it.

This year we’ve had the opportunity to work with several female-owned businesses that have flourished despite the pandemic. Women that have not been deterred by the challenges, but have risen to them. We’ve worked with ladies that have created new and exciting ventures, or have chosen to adapt and pivot their existing business model to better serve their customers during COVID. 

Here we’re showcasing a handful of those female-owned businesses we’ve had the opportunity to partner with this season.

Martha’s Vineyard Made: This new eCommerce destination was created by Rachel Baumrin of Austin Designs and is intended to be a one-stop-shop for users to purchase unique gifts and curated gift boxes made by Martha’s Vineyard creators and artisans. A concept years in the making, Martha’s Vineyard Made finally came to fruition earlier this fall. Due to the pandemic, local artisan’s markets were canceled, and opportunities for our talented friends and neighbors to sell their wares disappeared. 

As an artisan herself, Rachel knew the toll COVID would take on her colleagues, and took it upon herself to get Martha’s Vineyard Made up and running. Randi Baird Photography was hired to provide lifestyle and product images for the website, and we are honored to help display our Island’s beautiful locally made products. We know great photography is crucial to generating online sales and we’re proud to help further support the efforts of our local makers and creators. 

East Sound Lane: Another local maker, Allie Bernstein McElligott, launched East Sound Lane this year, where she handcrafts natural skincare products on-Island. Allie first came to Randi Baird Photography as a wedding client. We photographed her wedding as well as her father and step-mom. When she launched East Sound Lane she contacted RBP to help with her product photography, and we were honored; nothing makes us happier than returning clients, it’s the ultimate compliment of our work. We were thrilled to hear about her new endeavor, and her minimal, plant-based approach to her ingredients, most of which are grown in her family’s garden, pesticide-free. 

Allie grew up spending summers on the Vineyard at her grandparents house, and inherited a passion for plants, flowers and simple skincare from her mother and grandmother. After a career as a newsroom producer, she decided to quit her job and go to culinary school. During that time, instead of cooking food, she adapted the physics and chemistry of cooking and baking to make her own skincare products.  After a few years as a chef, she decided to follow her passion for skincare and go to esthetician school. Once COVID hit her path was clear, and East Sound Lane was born. 

Martha’s Vineyard Escapes: For brides and grooms that wanted to get married in 2020, COVID obviously presented a number of challenges. Instead of rescheduling to 2021, and risking more unforeseen limitations, some couples decided to tie the knot anyway.  Many of them enlisted the help of Martha’s Vineyard Escapes, owned by the dynamic duo of Carol Bliss Furr and Donna Wilmarth. 

This year RBP worked with Carol, who has an innate talent for planning, organizing, and execution, plus years of managerial and leadership positions in business. When COVID hit Carol’s proven resourcefulness and versatility allowed her to continue to produce fabulous events that were still meaningful and especially unique. 

In one of our most memorable weddings of the summer, Carol pulled off a wedding for Trent and Rhonda with 225 (virtual!) guests at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs. We spent hours traveling to iconic locations with this genuine couple, celebrating their love all across Martha’s Vineyard. There might have been less fanfare and far fewer in-person spectators than usual, but there was still so much love and even more intimacy. Thanks to Carol’s core values and exquisite style we were able to share some slightly revised (but still very much magical!) affairs for her clients.

Donnelly and Company: Expanding a business in a new market is tough stuff, made even more complicated by a pandemic. But it didn’t deter Pauline Donnelly, a longtime Boston based real estate agent, from bringing her company to Martha’s Vineyard. Pauline is another fearless female we have had the pleasure of working with over the last several months and we respect her tenacity and extreme professionalism.

Like Randi Baird Photography, Pauline is all about creating a meaningful impact in her work and maintaining a positive culture. We provided headshots and architectural photography for Donnelly and Company and look forward to continuing our work with Pauline and her staff as she flourishes on-Island.

 

Alice Williams Interiors: Alice Williams makes it her mission to create beautiful living environments that fit and reflect each client, their style, and their home. She approaches each project as a full collaboration with her client’s tastes, needs, and resources while adding her personal touches and her discerning professional eye that her clients have come to trust her for. 

We can attest first hand to her collaborative approach. We first met Alice on an architectural photography shoot where we were hired to capture a historic Squibnocket Ridge oceanside home, aerial shots from the outside as well as the entire inside of the home, which had just completed a total interior renovation. Alice brought a carload of props to carefully style and consider each shot, and he worked seamlessly together as a true collaboration.

As Alice says “I believe interiors should be sensitive to the architecture of the house and its surrounding environment, while simultaneously being an expression of its inhabitant’s styles”  and we couldn’t agree more.

We look forward to working alongside these enterprising females in 2021 and remain hopeful for the new year. As 2020 comes to a close, remember to embrace new opportunities and remain grateful for this year’s silver linings.

Things may have changed, but the importance of our memories remain the same

It might not be business as usual, but we at RBP are more excited than ever to usher in a new season of clients. In the last couple of months, we’ve stayed busy capturing those people in the Martha’s Vineyard community that have stepped up to fill vital roles throughout the pandemic, from teachers to farmers, grocery store employees, pharmacists, delivery drivers and more. Our Everyday Heroes project has filled us with gratitude and inspiration and has allowed us to shine a light on some of the people behind the scenes that have been working selflessly for others.

As we transition back to our more traditional work, the goal of our mission behind the camera remains the same. While we adjust to the “new normal,” we will continue to capture our client’s most memorable moments, it’s what’s at the core of our business, and it’s something that will never change. The world may be shifting around us, but the essence of our work and the beauty of human connection remains more important than ever.

We are preparing for a summer of smaller engagements, including family portraits, intimate weddings, surprise proposals, and elopements. This will be the summer of more intimate, private events and above all, the summer of safety. 

Our number one priority will be the safety of our clients and ourselves. We stand committed to maintaining the cleanest and safest operation, and we’re fortunate that photography on Martha’s Vineyard naturally lends itself well to social distancing. Here’s what we’re doing to ensure your safety:

  • We’ll be checking in with clients leading up to our shoot to confirm that everyone taking part in the shoot has been healthy before the scheduled session. We will reschedule if we or anyone in our household has been sick in any way, within a two-week span of each session date and we are asking that our clients do the same.

  • We will be regularly cleaning our gear and equipment, and our associates and assistants will be wearing a face mask for the entire duration of the shoot. 
  • We will maintain a 6-foot social distance from our subjects at all times. We can use a variety of tools to get the same great photos we have always provided; we will use longer focal lenses so that we can stay six feet away, which will still allow us to capture images that seem like we are closer.

  • We will conduct shoots outdoors as much as possible, on beaches, woodland areas, and open spaces that are legally open. The natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard has long provided us with the most picturesque backdrops and will continue to so. Our most favorite locations have always been outside.

  •  As always we will accept payment online so no cards or cash needs to be exchanged.
  • We have amended our cancellation policies to be more forgiving of unforeseen circumstances. For family portraits, we are offering a full refund minus a $50 administration and credit card fee. For wedding clients, in the event of a Force Majeure, we will reschedule your date for any other time within the next two years and will honor the session fee quoted at the time of booking, plus a $250 administration and credit card fee.

Above all, we will not take any chances with regards to public health. Our business is a personal one and the safety and satisfaction of our clients will continue to be our top concern. We know these times have been trying, but we also know that capturing families and celebrating life, is a powerful and positive thing. There’s never been a more appropriate time to celebrate the beauty of the world and each other, and we’re committed to capturing those sentiments safely and professionally. 

 

Everyday Heroes, the resilient men and women serving our community in crisis

In a time when many are hunkered down at home, avoiding the public for each other’s benefit, there are few who brave risk and exposure every day to serve our communities–there are many of our residents, friends, and neighbors running into the fire, not away from it. By employing innovation and creativity, exhibiting strong leadership, adaptability, and relentless determination, these local heroes are stepping up to keep our communities afloat during this pandemic.

As a visual storyteller my photographs have long served to communicate, educate, and inspire. With the pandemic gripping our world I wanted to show the faces of the men and women who are working tirelessly to serve our community. I have begun showcasing these Everyday Heroes, the resilient men, and women serving our community in crisis. I am compelled to capture them in their selfless moments of service, to share their stories and highlight their efforts, and to give a voice to these ‘Faces from the Front Line.’

From the delivery drivers hauling supplies to Martha’s Vineyard, our postal workers ensuring safe deliveries, the grocery store employees stocking the shelves, the school cafeteria workers and pantry volunteers providing meals for our vulnerable families, there is an overwhelming number of people who are serving as critical lifelines to our community. Our collective health and well being is dependent on the actions of these brave individuals who have been deployed to keep us up and running, and who remind us every day how critical it is for us to band together, especially in times of need. Their efforts speak volumes for their character and dedication, and their acts of compassion and generosity serve as a silver lining amid a crisis we will never forget.

Julie Fay, Executive Director Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
As Executive Director Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), the Island’s social service safety net, Julie is at the forefront of maintaining the safety and security of our community’s most vulnerable residents at this critical time. Along with her staff, Julie has created a volunteer coordination program to help match organizations looking for volunteers and volunteers looking to help their community during this difficult time. As of March 16, Julie had organized her patient clinic staff to allow them to work remotely, outfitting them with laptops to provide telehealth services so that they could transition from seeing clients in-person to clients over the phone. The agency contacted their entire caseload, calling clients daily to check-in and reinforce the agency’s support. Says Julie “I’m so proud of my staff and so grateful for the team spirit and the embrace of the challenges of this pandemic.” ⠀

Matt Dix, Island Grown Initiative Farm Director
Matt Dix, Island Grown Initiative (IGI) Farm Director, has long been committed to building a regenerative, equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard, and never before have his efforts mattered more. As our global food chains become weakened Matt and IGI are implementing several new processes, including utilizing a new tunnel to begin seedlings, taking a regenerative approach to what they’re growing inside the greenhouse, and ramping up food production earlier in the season than they have in previous years. According to Matt the silver lining in all this is that “it’s giving the Island growers incentive to ramp up food production to see if we can feed our community.”

Tara Lewis, Postmaster of West Tisbury
Mail delivery has always been essential to our Island community, but today Tara’s work, and those of all postal employees, has become more important than ever. “People need to get their medicine and salary checks. On this island, it is difficult to get goods because most of the stores are closed so people really depend on the mail for delivery.” Tara’s everyday efforts have been amplified by increased demands on the mail system along with added concerns about keeping her facility safe and clean while adhering to CDC and government guidelines. “I’m just happy to be getting people what they need.”

Warren Holmberg, Pharmacist and Owner at Leslie’s Drug
As Pharmacist and Owner at Leslie’s Drug, Warren Holmberg is serving a vital role. These days this Everyday Hero stays busy fulfilling prescriptions for the Island community, including the influx of seasonal residents and is adapting by preparing medicine for curbside pick up. Early on, the hospital invited Warren and all Island pharmacies to a conference call in order to establish safety guidelines and protocol should a COVID-19 patient need medication. After the phone call he was relieved and comforted by the hospital’s communication and thoughtful strategic plan. Warren will stay open as long as he can and is committed to serving his community. Clearly his passion for pharmacy runs deep, marked by his Bowl of Hygieia tattoo.

Jenny DeVivo, Head Chef, Cafeteria Director Up-Island Schools
We always knew Jenny was an Everyday Hero, and it’s more evident than ever. Jenny and her lunch lady crew at the West Tisbury School prepare over 1000 meals a week to Island children and families for curbside pick up, an increase from 500 meals when school was first canceled due to the virus. This powerhouse has always encouraged healthy and thoughtful eating, and now she’s providing that experience for the kids to enjoy at home. An ever optimist, Jenny believes that the silver linings in all of this is that we learn that we can make do with less and that we come to truly appreciate that food is love and giving is powerful. She says “I feed my soul by feeding others,” the Island has never appreciated her more. 

Elio Silva, owner of Vineyard Grocer, Island Entrepreneur
As the threat of the virus began to take hold Elio listened to the community, and recognized the newfound fear associated with grocery shopping. He quickly implemented an online ordering system and began offering delivery and curbside pick up, so people didn’t have to risk their health to get food. He started using masks in the store one week before the order went into effect and manages a food chain that brings food from off-Island 4-5 times a week. He is buying 40% more food than he did last year and he’s not slowing down. Elio believes “we never have a problem, we have an opportunity to create a solution. We might have a situation, but there is never a problem. There is an opportunity to create a solution.” 

John Goeckel, Vineyard Haven Police Department
Officer John Goeckel of the Tisbury Police Department is used to life on the frontline, but these days it looks a lot different. This Everyday Hero continues to serve and protect while limiting face to face interactions, embracing more phone communications,  and taking precautions at every turn. Despite the changes, Officer Goeckel is committed to duty and stressed that the police department is ready and willing to help the community, no matter what.

Kayte Morris, Executive Director of Island Food Pantry
Kayte is on the front lines of hunger relief on Martha’s Vineyard, and today she finds herself meeting unprecedented demand for the Pantry’s services. Visits to the Pantry have doubled since the beginning of March, and Kayte’s biggest challenge is keeping food on the shelves, up to 56,000 pounds of food a month, plus tackling the logistical challenges of transporting, storing, and distributing that amount of food. Kayte has seen a tremendous amount of community support for the Pantry, more than she ever could’ve imagined. “When nearly all of our volunteers had to step down (most of which are retired and older), a whole new crew of volunteers popped up and stepped in. New donors have come forward with levels of support we’ve never seen before.” 

Georgia Maroni, Administrator Coordinator for Island Grown Initiative, Waitress at Lookout Tavern
Due to the pandemic Georgia has been working at the Island Food Pantry for the last three weeks and has been coordinating deliveries for seniors and home-bound families. She’s set up deliveries for over 100 Islanders. This Everyday Hero has taken on the stress of the world, and our community, and is also worried about her own financial security, as she’s already lost at least a month’s pay at her restaurant job, which remains closed because of the virus. On the bright side, she is happy to see the restructuring of our food chain. Georgia believes “our food should get more localized. It’s what everyone was hoping would happen and I think this will stick with people for a long time.”

Juli Vanderhoop, Selectwomen for the town of Aquinnah and owner of Orange Peel Bakery
Juli has long served as an active member of our Island community, so it’s no surprise she’s risen to the occasion in this critical time of need. This Everyday Hero is used to feeding others through her bakery and cafe, but these days she’s running a makeshift bodega, providing a grocery service to 60 up-Island families. Back in March Juli was worried about her 89-year old mother getting food, and realized there were many others including elders who may not want or be able to go to the grocery store. Once she started providing food for her family, Juli was encouraged to take it one step further and provide for her larger community. She implemented an order-by-text system and places orders twice a week with her wholesale distributor. The community is so thankful and she’s so happy to be able to provide for them. As her neighbor said “don’t you fall Juli, because you are holding up this community.” 

Michael Barnes, delivery driver for Island Food Pantry
Three days a week Mike travels from Martha’s Vineyard to pick up food in New Bedford from the Greater Boston Food Bank, and delivers it to the Island Food Pantry, which distributes it to local families in need. This Everyday Hero started making the trips three years ago, which he initially did once a week, then twice a week, now three times a week. Before the pandemic, Mike would travel to New Bedford alone and workers there would assist him in loading food onto his truck. These days his wife and two sons join him on his ride to help reduce contact with others, and his healthy, strong family is taking the necessary steps to be safe. He’s amazed at the work his kids are doing and is grateful for their help.

Mercedes Fererra, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, Food Service Director
Mercedes has been offering school lunch and breakfast since the shelter in place order took effect, and the demand for meals has steadily increased. Recently she implemented a new system to reduce contact, and families can pick up food twice a week instead of daily, and still receive the same amount of food. Orders are placed online and picked up on Mondays and Thursdays. This Everyday Hero is thankful for her suppliers including Island Food Products, Sysco, and ITC Distributors, and our community is thankful for her.