At summer’s end, the Vineyard committee on hunger is gearing up for the coming year, and also planning to support the victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida with an emergency donation.

The committee was founded in 1975 and works to reduce hunger on the Vineyard through fundraising, education, advocacy and food distribution. Most of the money it raises supports the Island Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Serving Hands (a food distribution program), and the Family to Family holiday food baskets. But some also goes to crisis areas around the world.

At its monthly meeting on Monday, the committee voted to contribute $1,100 from its emergency fund to the victims of Hurricane Irma. Committee treasurer Elaine Eugster said she would investigate a charity group that would bring food to communities in Florida affected by the storm.

“It’s specifically what we are about,” she said.

Donation jars around the Island this summer collected almost $3,000, with committee members reporting that jars were overflowing at some Island businesses. But they also noted some challenges, including competition from another donation jar at Cronig’s Market, and some reluctance among farmers to place the donation jars next to tip jars at farm stands.

Committee member Toby Codding announced that the Island Food Pantry will now be open year-round. Food pantry hours at the United Methodist Church in Vineyard Haven will be on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Mr. Codding credited former committee member Armen Hanjian for preserving the food pantry’s endowment by handling fundraising and other responsibilities on his own. “It’s amazing what Armen did by himself,” he said.

Committee president Betty Burton reported that Serving Hands has been distributing groceries to about 10 people every week this year. “Which isn’t a huge amount, but it’s consistent and they are very grateful,” she said, adding that for many people who use the program, “that’s all that they are eating.” The weekly pickups end for the season on Oct. 1, with monthly pickups continuing all year.

The committee also looked ahead to the next Oxfam Hunger Banquet, which creates scenarios to reflect different levels of food security around the world. Participants are assigned a country, which determines what they eat. Some may also have to wait in line, or take a short walk to find water. Mrs. Burton said the committee aims to hold the banquets every two years. All donations benefit the Island community and Oxfam. A date for this year’s banquet has not been set.

Committee meetings are posted on the Vineyard Haven Public Library website. For more information, visit