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Martha's Vineyard fights to stay open

By Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

Martha Bell, founder of Martha's Vineyard, said she and the volunteers at the Paducah nonprofit who provide hot meals and other goods to homebound individuals are "just fighting to keep the doors open" after its walk-in cooler, walk-in freezer and ice maker quit working two weekends ago.

Bell said it cost roughly $2,400 to have those appliances repaired, and the breakdowns resulted in the loss of all the food in the cooler and the freezer, including 142 turkeys. Bell said Martha's Vineyard was just able to get the freezer cleaned out Monday, and the local health department allowed the nonprofit to start moving new food in Tuesday.

In the meantime, the organization hasn't let the setback stop it from feeding those it serves.

"It's horrible, but you have to do the best you can. And so we've prepared things like tuna casserole and whatever we can find. We had salmon patties once. And we'll keep subbing with what we have until we can fill up our freezer and get some food in."

Martha's Vineyard, located at 900 North 32nd St., and delivers meals to local homebound individuals year-round. Many are seniors living on a fixed income, Bell said, who sometimes can't afford both their electric bill and food.

To those folks, Martha's Vineyard delivers two hot meals a week - on Tuesdays and Fridays - and provides them with other goods such as fruit, cheese, cookies, sandwiches, butter, eggs, milk, bread, cereal and canned goods.

"Those extra things carry them until we can get them another hot meal," Bell explained.

The charitable organization moved to the 32nd Street location - formerly the Pines Restaurant - last summer, but has worked to feed the hungry for about 24 years. The equipment failure June 21-22 has put additional financial strain on Martha's Vineyard, which Bell said already faces increased utility costs because of the need to run air conditioners in the summer and the fact that all the kitchen's appliances but the stove are electric.

"It's a big operation, and I've been able to carry it myself for a while but, as of now, I've depleted that avenue," Bell said.

Bell said she and the volunteers hope people in the community will join them in their fight to stay open by providing donations to help with the costs of utilities and food. She said the nonprofit can use more volunteers, too.

Martha's Vineyard is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and donations can be sent to the North 32nd Street address or to Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 8307, Paducah, KY 42002. Contact Martha's Vineyard at 270-575-0021.

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

Comments made about this article - 1 Total

posted on: Wednesday, July 02, 2014 5:45 PM

Title: Donations

I hope someone that knows how to set up web sites for donations to Martha's Vineyard will do that. More people can be reached than already have been through something like that.

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