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Margaretta Andrews, Jeanne Miller, Carlisle Jensen and their entire team at the Community Foundation for Nantucket (CFN) are used to working quietly behind the scenes as a critical support system to more than one hundred island nonprofits. Yet in the face of the coronavirus, they’ve emerged on the frontlines, not only serving nonprofits but also one of the hardest hit industries on Nantucket.

“CFN can only provide funding to 501(c)3 organizations so we developed a program that partners nonprofits with restaurants serving food to help feed our community,” described Jeanne Miller, CFN’s program director. “This helps both the restaurant workforce, who have been hit so hard during this time, and the clients, patients and constituents of our island’s nonprofits.”

At press time, the Community Foundation had matched seven restaurants with seven human service nonprofits. Within the first week, the Food Relief Initiative had distributed a total of seven hundred meals. “The inspiration for this program came from the amazingly unselfish work of Or, Whale and the Sandbar, who fed our seniors in coordination with the Saltmarsh Center out of their own pockets for weeks,” said Margaretta Andrews, CFN’s executive director. “Our staff, primarily Jeanne Miller and Carlisle Jensen, are the driving forces behind this program, which has grown exponentially.”

A subset of CFN’s Nantucket Fund for Emergency Relief, the Food Relief Initiative received a $100,000 pledge from an anonymous donor that could keep the program operating through the beginning of June. “The way things are going,” Andrews said, “there is every chance that we’ll need more funding.” Indeed, at press time, CFN had already reached out to a number of other nonprofits to create more of these restaurant partnerships. As seasonal residents seek ways to support the community during this incredibly challenging time, the Community Foundation’s Food Relief Initiative might just give them the biggest bang for their buck.

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