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Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Jan 7-11, 2019

January 15, 2019

Linda and I arrived Wednesday, January 3 and moved into an empty bunk trailer here on site. Then on Saturday, January 5 we built three small rooms with walls of foam boards in the corner of the warehouse next to the Riverside Community Church, installed beds made from the frames and mattresses left by the Seventh Day Adventist church and moved in. We set up a “living room” with the stuffed armchairs left with the mattresses, tables from the church for breakfasts, as well as a two-table “office” to one side. The church has had the lumber delivered for the 3 permanent sleeping rooms and an office that we will build in this end of the warehouse as we have time and skilled carpenters, but we have not seen any plans as yet. 

Our office manager Rachel VanWingen arrived on Saturday. We are providing a cold breakfast here on site, and have found a number of opportunities for our evening meals, including a donated “shrimp boil” (bring a fire extinguisher!) and a pizza shop across the street. The Waffle Iron Restaurant’s owner, Maranda Hartman (featured in the recent NYT article about Marianna) has agreed to open up just for us on Thursday evenings with a one-menu dinner. Last Thursday she refused to be paid for the meal (the crews left a big tip), and we have agreed that she will accept our payment in the future. There is also a buffet restaurant in town that has a “buy one, get one 1/2 price” deal, and a homeowner who has a food truck and has offered to feed us some evening as well.

From January 4 to 6, Linda and I visited a number of sites where our help had previously been solicited. During each drive we received phone calls or met neighbors who also had trees that needed to be cut up and removed, and the list of potential jobs continued to grow.

On January 7 I sent out three crews, two with skid steers and one just with chainsaws, and by noon on Jan 11 we had completed 20 jobs. During working on those jobs, neighbors and friends of the homeowners called us or asked the crews for help on their properties. We have decided to make removing trees that are actually laying on or in houses, and limbs that are hanging (“widow makers”) top priority since these involve a safety issue.