People around Apalachicola Bay are hurting. With the decrease in oysters and fish, boat captains would lose money if they went out to fish. Restaurant owners, like those at Captain Snook’s, use to go through eight truckloads of seafood a week; now they are going through three. The financial situation is so bad that families are without work and food on their table – literally. Crises like this have a trickle-down effect that has an impact everyone in Florida.
Yesterday Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Bill Montford, DCF Secretary David Wilkins, DEO Executive Director Hunting Deutsch, Franklin County Commissioner Pinki Jackel, members of the Gulf Coast Workforce Board and many other local officials and organizations came together to give food, medical help, job assistance and benefits to the people affected by the decrease in fishery resource.
The main reason for the small numbers of oysters and fish is a decrease of fresh water in the bay. The governor told everyone at the event he is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to address the water flow issue. He is also making sure job training and resources are in the region to build a healthy economy, but also making sure help for immediate short-term needs taken care of – like food, medical help and shelter.
DCF has been and will continue to be in the community every day. We’ve held resource fairs (the next one is Oct. 12), trained volunteers and hired a temporary employee to make sure residents get the help they so desperately need.
We’re also working with organizations like Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida and Franklin’s Promise Coalition to get help directly to residents. They are also helping keep families together – this is a stressful time and families need each other. It is important to give these families emotional support.
The people of Apalachicola Bay are good, strong, hard workers. Gov. Scott, DCF and our many partners will be there to help our friends and neighbors make it through this crisis.