Late Wednesday afternoon, our food outreach coordinator at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury had two huge pots of pea soup simmering in the Parish Hall. She was preparing some meals for our year-round problem of food insecurity. She was ready. She was ready the way so many of us on the Island are often ready — ready to offer hospitality, compassion and practical support.

Just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, I was getting ready to meet some house guests. But after a call from Father Chip Seadale of St. Andrew’s Church, I redirected my ready-ing.

Father Chip, who was away for a church conference, informed me that two planes had landed with around 50 Venezuelan migrants. The group had first been deposited in the parking lot of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, but was now heading over to the regional high school cafeteria for some snacks, and would soon be moved to St. Andrew’s to spend the night.

Essentially, the winter shelter program was being kicked into high gear.

Instead of meeting my guests, I readied myself for a long night: sneakers, snacks and a fully charged phone. With a one quick phone call, those two pots of hot soup were immediately heading from West Tisbury to Edgartown.

All the helpers from across the Vineyard were ready on a dime. Counselors from Martha’s Vineyard Community Services were there. Volunteers from the Harbor Homes winter shelter showed up. Food equity partners and restaurants jumped in. Translators, Spanish teachers and high school Spanish students appeared. School administrators created systems. Emergency Services teams were mobilized including the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Dukes County Manager, Dukes County Sheriff, police, fire and clergy (forgive me for forgetting anyone!).

These folks all knew how to do their jobs and jumped into action. We were ready.

We were ready because we are a community that works collaboratively to address the challenges that come our way. We were ready because the crises of housing and food insecurity on this Island have required us to care for one another.

But we were not ready for what we witnessed — the mean-spirited and cynical transporting of human beings. Gov. Ron DeSantis and his team from Florida had invested in private planes and organized this major transport, which included ground transportation once the group arrived on-Island, but somehow they could not call any organization on the Island to let us know the group was coming.

We were not ready for the stories of incredible hardship — harrowing stories of fear and persecution, beatings and injuries, and a grueling journey across multiple countries. Some people had been traveling for two months or more.

We were not ready for our new Venezuelan friends to be so kind and loving. Turns out they were helpers, too. They helped us set up all the cots and air mattresses. They helped lay out meals throughout their stay and cleaned up afterwards. They opened their arms to us as much as we did to them.

When Gov. Charlie Baker announced that he was transferring our new friends, we were not surprised. We knew our small but mighty response and our little St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church shelter could not meet their needs, particularly the labyrinthian immigration requirements. We sent each one off with a smartphone, some gift cards, loads of snacks and a hug.

It may take us awhile to process what just happened here. But let me tell you, this Island community is renewed and ready. Ready to help our new Venezuelan friends get settled. Ready to attend to any other migrant groups that are sent here. Ready to ask our present immigrant neighbors about their stories — their journeys and their needs.

Ready to stand firm in our highest religious values — welcoming the stranger and caring for the needy. Ready to stand in solidarity with other communities who are on the front lines of the migrant crisis or who receive unexpected migrant guests. Ready to be agents of love, compassion and justice in a broken world.