Thank you so much for always keeping us and Elizabeth’s Foundation in your thoughts. Len and I feel it is appropriate to share with you an update on how we responded to the pandemic.
Since Covid-19 hit here we have been focused on doing what we can to help those living in the small treatment facilities and sober houses we support. We began in March prior to stay-at-home order by delivering extra toiletries and gift cards. We were even able to get toilet paper at that time. Little did we know what a problem that would become.
Once the lockdown occurred it was necessary to obtain everything online and our deliveries came to a halt. I was so worried about the clients, residents, and staff. It was difficult for us to stay distanced. I had trouble ordering from my normal online supplier for toiletries. We obtained additional gift cards and I was able to place orders for direct shipment of household supplies, although extremely limited, to the sober houses. It felt so good to be able to offer some assistance.
In early May I finally was able to re-order toiletries. We happily made deliveries in person to 10 locations. We did reconnect with the management teams, safely distanced, and heard how everybody was doing. To our great relief there were minimal issues. Most of the residents managed. They found a way to survive. Not everybody lost their job, and some found temporary work. There were a few incidents where people did need to be relocated for not following the safety protocol imposed by their sober houses, but nobody was put out onto the streets. There were some relapses but no overdoses and there was only one incident of a Covid-19 case. Fortunately, it was isolated and did not spread to that community. We feel that in our little part of the recovery world we were spared. Our new obstacle is we are unable to find affordable bicycles. Hopefully, this will be a temporary situation as so much of what we do is offering this meager yet valuable means of transportation.
Unfortunately, in South Florida there has been a big uptick in relapses and overdoses. We have seen much suffering and more homelessness. When people are living in sober houses, they are required to be drug and alcohol free. The stress of the isolation has caused a real problem. Most addicts do have some underlying mental illness issues. The personal connections and meetings they rely on have gone virtual. For many it just was not enough. It is incredibly sad. The 12 step meetings are trying to open, but how to do it safely is the challenge. There are meeting houses that often have 50 to 100 people in one room with simultaneous groups meeting. On a personal level, one of the mom’s I am extremely close with lost her ‘bonus’ daughter to an overdose on June 1st. She was her late son’s girlfriend. For many mothers it brought back the loss of our children. The disease is relentless. The heartache it causes is fierce. And yet, we move on, in the best way we are able with one purpose, to try to save a life.
At this time, we have provided an additional $1,500 of gift cards and several hundred dollars in extra household supplies. We also donated $200 worth of toiletries and food supplies to a group who routinely reach out to the homeless. (This population is growing since the pandemic.) These are women who carry Blessing Bags in their cars with basic supplies and some nonperishable food. One mother started this in memory of her son, also lost to an overdose.
And so, dear friends, our gratitude is heartfelt. Our service to those living in recovery is our mission. We feel without this we never would have survived our loss of July 5, 2016. The Elizabeth Rose Olsen Foundation gives us purpose. I hope you can see from this message how far your support goes. Thank you for helping us help others. Stay safe, be well.
P.O. Box 962, Hobe Sound, FL 33475 (781) 626-0558