From Rose Lipke’s Facebook Page– First of all,…thank all of you who donated your time to help with the supply drive and your donations to this rag-tag relief effort. We headed out Wednesday and met Betsy Plante (The Blessing Bags Project) and her crew after they made a supply drop in Immokolee and set up “camp” in a private lot just a block from the “official” relief area that was gated and only allowed to distribute between 9 am and 4 pm.
Roque Pastorius (The Monkey Bus) cooked his heart out and served hot meals well into the evening hours with the help of Betsy Plante and her awesome team
for the exhausted residents, many of whom lost everything they own including their homes.
In the 48 hours we spent there 90% of the homes on Chokoloskee and 85% of the homes in Everglades City were condemned. Most do not have the means to rebuild. It is utterly heartbreaking. In that 48-hour period we served several hundred meals. FEMA’s red-tagging of homes made most of the cleanup supplies we brought them useless.
At the suggestion of several contacts there I went on a recon mission and we shifted that part of the relief effort to Goodland, a small fishing community east of Marco Island that was also utterly devastated. There was no government presence (other than a makeshift post office) no FEMA, no Sherriff’s Dept., nothing.
I want to also thank Mark W. Coarsey and Fishing for Freedom for their generous donation, as well as Gail Roberts and Kathy Velinoff for their donations. We pulled together and at least put a small dent in the hard road ahead for the fishermen and families in Everglades City and Goodland. I am so proud to be part of such a loving community and humbled by your faith in us to make a difference. With so much uncertainty as to what kind of help we can be down there moving forward, the remainder of funds we were going to use for a second trip will be distributed to Irma affected areas around the state by Betsy through the Blessing Bags project.
For Roque and me, it’s back to work for now, but will remain in contact with people in both Everglades City and Goodland, and if called upon we will do it again.
Rose Lipke Photos