Charter boat crews will fish for the hungry in the Keys during the coronavirus crisis
In the Florida Keys, fishermen need paychecks and families need food on the table.
One nonprofit has launched a pilot program to solve both issues.
Star of the Sea Outreach Mission, a powerhouse food bank that last week gave out 45 tons of food to needy households in Key West, Stock Island, Islamorada and Key Largo through drive-through distribution sites, has created St. Peter’s Fleet.
It’s a group of charter boats hired by SOS to catch fish for the hungry.
For the past two weeks, one or two boats have gone out daily and returned with about 300 pounds of fish each day, said Emily Nixon, deputy director of SOS.
“With restaurants closed and tourists not coming down, their industry has been hit hard,” Nixon said of charter fishing in the Keys. “It’s also a sustainable source of protein to be distributed via the pantries or meal distribution.”
SOS is waiting on funding through CareerSource., which works with the Florida Department of Econonic Opportunity, to pay the wages.
But the nonprofit’s leaders decided to get the program off the ground by paying for all the costs up front, about $2,600 a week.