2020 President's Letter

“What a long strange trip it’s been” (Grateful Dead, 1977)

Boy, isn’t that the truth! Up until 7 months ago, whenever we heard the word Pandemic, we thought of nothing more frightening than a bad horror movie. That changed in the blink of an eye with the unrelenting and lifechanging reality of COVID-19.

As I have watched how Islanders have reacted to the pandemic, it has only confirmed how lucky we are to live, work or find solace here. The Island has proven to be one of safest places to be during this nerve-wracking time. For the most part, this has been due to an innate awareness that comes of living on an island; we are all in the same boat and have an obligation to watch out for one another. Remarkably, that mindset has proven to be contagious as seasonal residents and vacationers arrived from near and far. It has been inspiring to watch everyone take the Island credo to heart. It is impossible to overstate the importance of a conscientious and caring community as we navigate these uncharted waters.

Although thankful that we are faring so well on the health front, there is a growing awareness that the lingering economic impact on lives and livelihoods is going to be felt across the Island for some time to come. Hard working Islanders have watched helplessly as their incomes disappeared as shops and restaurants closed or never opened. For many who count on the tourist season for most if not all of their annual income, this summer has been a season lost. The prospect of a long bleak winter now looms large. Even more troubling is the growing strain on the Vineyard’s safety net. Many of our civic and charitable organizations are already struggling to fund their missions due to growing requests for help. Sadly, food and shelter remain at the top the list.

As we have done for over 30 years, Farm Neck Foundation stands ready to help fill the breach - but we can’t do it without you. Your generosity and commitment to ‘give back’ is the sole reason we have been able to provide assistance where and when most needed.

As summer gives way to fall on this long and strange journey, it is incumbent upon those of us fortunate enough to be doing ok, to take a moment to think about those who are not.

May I humbly ask for your support again this year?

Timothy D. Sweet