Growing up in Edgartown, what chef Amy Johnson looked forward to most on Christmas Day wasn’t opening presents.

“The food was more impressive than the gifts,” she recalled. “It was a time when everyone was laughing and playing. I liked just sitting down together at the table.”

Those memories and a desire to help the less fortunate are why Chef Amy has cooked and served hundreds of free Thanksgiving dinners over the last two years. And on Christmas day she will once again be in the kitchen providing meals for Islanders in need, either in-person, take-out or by home delivery. Chef Amy has teamed up with the Island Food Pantry and the meals will be cooked and served at Camp Jabberwocky on Greenwood avenue in Vineyard Haven from 12 to 2 p.m. on Dec. 25.

The theme of the meal she said is “feeding the less fortunate.”

Chef Amy said she wants to serve food with “great flavors coming out of the ground” but also the happiness that a good meal can provide. She is sensitive to the loneliness that people without families or homes, having financial difficulties, struggling with aging and the homebound experience during the holidays.

“Holidays are hard if you’re by yourself. It’s hard on somebody’s soul,” she said.

She is also motivated by a more basic observation: people are hungry. She has a strong sensitivity to hunger, food scarcity and food waste. When she lived in New York city, she always encountered someone hungry on the street while walking home from work.

Her new partnership with Island Food Pantry will expand the network of who receives free holiday meals beyond what she has been able to do in the past on her own. The food pantry’s connections with the Island’s network of nonprofit service organizations means that more seniors, homeless people and families will be aware of and have access to the meal service. Chef Amy and food pantry operations manager Sharon Brown expect to create 300 meals.

For the past two years, Chef Amy has cooked holiday feasts from her mobile trailer food truck on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. Despite the small space, she said she could produce hundreds of meals there. At the Jabberwocky kitchen, she’ll have more room in which to maneuver but she’ll still be cooking on her own, turning out hams, sweet potatoes, collard greens, pies and other holiday foods. Volunteers from the Food Pantry will provide the staffing needed to serve the meals as well as package the take-out and delivery meals and drive dinners to those at home who can’t share a meal in person.

The chef is well known on the Island for her butter chicken, Korean BBQ and smoked meats. Profits from her catering business help pay for the groceries for the holiday meals, along with donations from Stop & Shop. She said the financial cost isn’t of concern to her because she is focused on what she’s providing.

“I don’t want for anything,” she said. “Everything I have, I’m grateful for.”

Chef Amy also wants community members to stay warm this winter. As part of the effort, she is asking for and collecting donations of cold weather clothing items. New socks, undergarments, coats and gloves can be dropped off at her food truck at 61 Beach Road during its open hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. She’ll work with the food pantry to make sure donations are distributed to those in need.

Christmas day will be a busy one for Chef Amy and the pantry volunteers who are making the feast possible. But it’s a day that the chef looks forward to with the optimism and anticipation of the season.

“We’re going to have a great time,” she said. “Everybody deserves to be happy.”

Meals will be served on Dec. 25 at Camp Jabberwocky on Greenwood avenue in Vineyard Haven from 12 to 2 p.m. Take-out service is also available during those hours. Home deliveries are available courtesy of Island Food Pantry volunteers. There is no need to call ahead for in-person dining or take-out but for home deliveries call Chef Amy’s Food Truck at 508-857-8783 to make arrangements.