27 Nov 2018

Soup’s On

In his 1865 novella, “Doctor Marigold,” Charles Dickens pens a story about a street peddler in search of happiness. After living a life of tragic circumstances, he struggles to find redemption, purpose and joy. He soon discovers the way to do that is by investing in someone else’s life. “No one,” Dickens concludes,” is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
During this holiday season when many of us want to find creative ways to help others, it’s often as simple as using the basic gifts and talents we’re given. I once heard a motivational speaker tell a great story with this sentiment in mind. She said after returning home from a multi-city engagement, she received a beautifully wrapped gift from a fan she’d never met. Inside were a delicate hand-knit pair of baby booties. The speaker had no children or grandchildren at the time, so she was entirely perplexed by the gift. A phone call to the mystery giver cleared it up. “I knit baby booties,” said the nice woman. “It’s what I do. What you do (and say) during your presentations blesses people. I was hoping what I do might bless you too.” The speaker said it was the single most meaningful gift she ever received.
The people of Nantucket have embraced this concept wholeheartedly as we strive to find intentional ways to invest in the people of our community. Recently, the Artists Association of Nantucket joined the International “Empty Bowls” project designed to help fight hunger at the local level. The AAN invited their students (young and old) to craft a ceramic bowl to donate to the event. 100 Mile Makers and Bartlett’s Farm supplied the soup, Something Natural the fresh bread and Cisco Brewery provided a festive location to host the affair. All proceeds went to the Nantucket Food Pantry and Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach. These organizations all collaborated to “do what they do,” and lives were changed.
It’s hard to imagine on this magical island that’s been dubbed the “playground for the rich and famous,” that some of our neighbors can’t afford food. But, guess what, it’s true. In 2018 alone, The Nantucket Food Pantry distributed over 20,000 bags of groceries and served 9,733 individuals. They report that as many of these recipients get back on their feet, they become devoted volunteers to the organization assisting neighbors in need. It’s the “baby bootie story” played out over and over again. We might not all be able to do the “big thing” or write the big check…but we can do something…and it can make all the difference.
As you think about how you might like to help those in need this holiday season, please remember, if Nantucket and its people have blessed you in some way, you can do something to pay it forward. Contact to learn about the many island needs and how you can help. Perhaps invest in our local Inky Santa drive to help ensure local families in need have gifts under the tree this year or simply use whatever gifts you’ve been given to benefit others. Together, we can strive for no more…
Empty bowls
Shellie Dunlap  
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