Fisherman’s Mark has been on the front line as our community recovers from the devastation brought about by Hurricane Ida. We are a well-established nonprofit agency with over 40 years of experience, but, as Executive Director, I can tell you that our capacity has been tested. We have seen the clients whom we’ve served for months or years, who shop at our food pantry, who use our services, who have braved the economic devastation of the pandemic, displaced from their homes. There’s no way to sugar coat it. There’s no way to not lose sleep. There’s no way to compartmentalize. These are real people with real stories, real families, and real struggles.
What keeps me positive and productive each day despite the speed, stress, and strain of this crisis? It’s the resolve and commitment of my Board of Directors, my staff, our incredible donors and volunteers, local businesses, and residents. It’s the community that surrounds us. The donations, the offers to help, the fundraisers, the teamwork, the acts of kindness and fellowship that I have witnessed since September 1st have been both unprecedented and humbling. This community has embodied the Fisherman’s Mark mission of providing help when help is needed.
So to all of the volunteers who helped us move when our basement flooded and staffed the food pantry when we extended our hours; to the donors who have shown such compassion and generosity from day one; to the many businesses who delivered palettes of food and cleaning supplies, offered matching grants, and hosted fundraisers; to the residents who organized food drives or donated groceries; to the staff who did what needed to be done and continues to do so; to the Board who has been so supportive throughout; and to the clients who put their trust and faith in us, I thank you.
There is still much work to be done. The water has receded but there are forty displaced families still in need of housing assistance. There are those who lost most of their possessions and need help replacing damaged or lost items and still others who, after fleeing from chest-high floodwaters, need to process the trauma through counseling services.
Our work continues. Hurricane Ida Relief Grant funding will be distributed in the coming weeks. We will house those who need housing; feed those who might otherwise go without; provide comfort, community and counseling to those who feel alone.
Thank you to all. You have made your mark on this community. Working with you through this disaster has been one of the great honors of my career.