From their Corner Table Café downtown, the Nantucket Culinary Center’s Joy and Greg Margolis have always had a unique insight on the comings and goings of the community. With the coronavirus shutting down most island businesses, the husband-and-wife team anticipated that there was going to be a whole new segment of the population who would soon need food assistance for the first time in their lives. “These are teachers, builders and restaurant workers,” Joy said. “They’re people who are a lot less likely to ask for help.”
To meet this quiet need, the Margolises created a confidential order form on their website where islanders can request dinners-for-four free of charge. With the help of a private donor and the Community Foundation, “The Family Meals” were part of a buy-one, give-one program in which for every meal sold, one was donated to a family in need. While beginning small by word of mouth, the Culinary Center’s Family Meal inspired a larger, more encompassing program for the island.
Joy’s coordination with the Community Foundation ultimately yielded a broader reimbursement initiative that encouraged nonprofits to partner with local restaurants. Modeled after the partnership between The Saltmarsh Senior Center and or, The Whale, the program enabled non-profits to order pre-made meals for their clientele from restaurants that would then be reimbursed by the Community Foundation’s Nantucket Fund for Emergency Relief. “This will not only benefit different organizations and their demographic,” Joy explains, “but also the restaurants who can then reemploy their employees.” Indeed, Joy and Greg Margolis have found the right recipe for serving the community.