In February 2021 less than 4 months after Fishing Partnership Support Services [FPSS] successfully distributed $25,000 in financial assistance to Barnstable County fishermen, a second grant application was approved by the Cape Cod Foundation in the amount of $40,000 to provide additional help to those adversely impacted by COVID-19. Mid-way through the grant distribution period, funds were boosted by another $5,000, positioning FPSS Navigators to expedite a total of $45,000 in financial aid to Cape Cod fishing families.
The grant was made possible by the Cape Cod Foundation Strategic Emergency Response Fund in partnership with funding received from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
Fishing Partnership Speeds $45,000 in Financial Aid to Families
Fishing Partnership Navigators Morgan Eldredge, Julia Messersmith, and Shannon Eldredge, who serve as trained Community Health Workers for FPSS, have deep connections in Cape Cod’s coastal areas because of the trust they have earned in their communities. This gives them a unique understanding of the challenges fishing families have faced during the pandemic and allowed them to reach families rapidly with needed financial resources. The funds were used to purchase and distribute gift cards for food and gas, and to make direct vendor payments for essential needs like rent, mortgage, and utility bills.
Having the ability to utilize the CCF funds to help fishing families with short-term financial needs opened the door to conversations about longer-term needs as the effects of the pandemic continued to impact our community and beyond. In distributing the funds and speaking directly to fishing families, we as Navigators were provided with the opportunity to learn more about the circumstances of these households and hear the personal stories of people struggling with illness, business losses, and unemployment. Morgan, Shannon and I are grateful to be in a position to connect fishing families to the resources and support they need.”
Making a Difference for 38 Fishing Families
Grant Distribution to Fishermen
The total of $45,000 in financial aid reached 72 individuals from 38 fishing families in less than 4 months. For the first time since the pandemic began, funds could be used for mortgage payments in addition to rental assistance. Many fishing families received food or gas cards. Other essential needs were covered, such as medical bills, car and auto insurance payments, and basic utilities.
About the Unique Needs of Cape Cod Fishermen
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted shellfish farmers and wild harvesters from Bourne to Provincetown who rely heavily on selling their products to both year-round and seasonal restaurants. Due to the widespread closure of these Cape-wide markets, shellfishermen in Barnstable County were especially hard-hit by the pandemic. This grant from the Cape Cod Foundation provided financial assistance to Barnstable County fishing families, particularly shellfishermen, when other emergency funds could not meet the full spectrum of needs and state and federal assistance programs were challenging to navigate.
One Family’s Story
The grant money was utilized by the FPSS Chatham Navigator team to help 38 fishing households in the wake of the 2020 restaurant restrictions and closures. Case in point, a shellfishing family of three, who rely heavily on seasonal raw-bar markets, struggled to pay their mortgage and to buy groceries with the rising cost of food during the pandemic. The family faced further setbacks in 2021 after more than a year of severe financial losses. Working with the Chatham Navigator team to address their most essential needs, the family used funds from the Cape Cod grant to cover the cost of a mortgage payment and a Stop & Shop gift card to supplement their grocery bill.
Thank you to Our Partners
Fishing Partnership is grateful to our colleagues and partners who continue to help our Navigator team reach Barnstable County fishing families in need. Because of their generosity and dedication of time and resources, FPSS was able to reach Cape Cod families in need with this $45,000 grant.
Homeless Prevention Council, Maggi Flanagan & Maureen Linehan
Monomy Community Services, Theresa Malone
Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Melissa Sanderson
Wellfleet SPAT, Michelle Insley
Town of Provincetown, Lise King
Town of Chatham, Shareen Davis
Shaw Fund for Mariner’s Children, Mary Anne Macaulay
Women of Fishing Families, Karen Murdoch
Wellfleet Fishermen’s Association
Lower Cape Outreach Council
Are You a Fishing Family That Needs Help?
Contact Fishing Partnerhsip Support Services today. Navigators are standing by to assist you with health and wellness programs, safety at sea programs, and a wide range of services to improve the economic security of commercial fishermen and their families.
FPSS helps individuals and families working in the commercial fishing industry including shoreside support workers. This is anyone that works to support the fisherman to get their product to market including marine supply retail/wholesalers, boat/engine repairmen, boat/engine mechanics, lumpers (men that unload fish from the boat), ice companies, bait dealers, fish/shellfish truck drivers, fish cutters, fish packers and more.
It starts with a conversation, call us today.