The meeting was called by the “unmet needs” committee of the non-profit
Joe Taylor, director of
Franklins Promise is trying to “bring together everyone who’s interested in helping with this crisis and determine a long-term strategy for the situation,” said
Jennifer and Chris Millender represented the ‘Franklin County Seafood Workers Association (FCSWA).
“We are the front line,” said Jennifer Millender. “I’m humbled to see everybody here. Our door is always open.
“I have wanted Carrabelle to be at the table for a long time. People in Carrabelle and the east end said, ‘Those people in Apalachicola don’t care about the
In addition to Carrabelle Cares, the St. George Island Civic Club, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Franklin County Health Department and Emergency Management all sent representatives.
A few attendees offered promises of tangible help.
Jim Bellasbach, from the
Homer McMillan, pastor of
Sister Jeanne Drea, co chair of the
“My whole life has been taking care of this situation or that situation and making things better for people,” she said.
Clarice Powell, a spokeswoman for the pantry said, under the current emergency, food is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily but said there could be problems securing Second Harvest food deliveries.
“There is no food to purchase from Second Harvest,” she said. “I guess they’re sending it to other emergencies. Especially meat is in short supply. Right now we’d rather have the donation of food, especially any kind of meat, than money. The supply from Second Harvest just is not there. We would love to have canned meat of any kind.”
Powell said they can also accept fresh meat or fish because they now have freezers purchased with a donation from the Knights of Columbus.
On Monday, the Food Pantry received a large donation of cat and dog food from PetSmart Charities through the efforts of Big Bend DART, which will be available those affected by the economic crisis.
Karen Martin of the Franklin County Animal Shelter said she hopes knowing food is available for pets will discourage people from abandoning or surrendering their animals.
Other agencies offered hope of long term aid for seafood workers. President Jim Kerley of Gulf Coast State College pledged to provide more career training opportunities within the county. Loretta Costin, new director of the Gulf/Franklin Campus said she met with administrators at
“We want to help and give hope and opportunity. We would like to bring in new types of industry and help people start their own businesses,” said Kerley.
Representatives of Gulf Coast Workforce promised they would, “identify folks who can document they made their living off the bay and were employed there long-term and try to help those people gain work experience through both internships and traditional classroom training.” They said Workforce can provide funding for books for trainees and sometimes help with car repairs, car payments and the cost of work uniforms for people transitioning to a new career.
Emergency Management Director Pam Brownell suggested
“I have just been going online searching for anything that might help,” she said this week.
Brownell told Thursday’s meeting FEMA will not reopen the
“As individual self-employed oysterman you are going to have to come up with documentation that you are unemployed and what you would have made if you were working,” Brownell said. Those seeking aid must also demonstrate they had a reason for not applying earlier like being hospitalized or in jail when the FEMA office was open.