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Partner Spotlight: The Hammock House at St Columba Church in Marathon

The Hammock House at St Columba Church in Marathon provides free after school and camp programs for 90 Middle Keys children. UWFK support makes it possible for their program to include transportation from Stanley Switlik during the school year, snacks and a meal, homework help, lots of outdoor play and Fun Fridays. 

“Since the hurricane, we felt the kids were in crisis and needed some emotional support. We have partnered with Project H.O.P.E., who ran a 4 week counseling class with the kids, ‘kidding around yoga’ was brought in to teach the kids calming techniques, and a Yale training program using therapy dogs is being run to help teach the kids empathy, all while still helping with homework and making sure the kids get a nutritious meal before heading home,” says Jodi Gonzalez, Executive Director. “80% of Hammock House kids and staff face issues with the basic necessities of, clothing and shelter. 100% of our families are dealing with emotional trauma. We are partnering with other agencies and trying to fill these needs as they are uncovered. Rev Debra participates in the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Group, and we have a recovery coordinator that is bringing in volunteer groups to continue recovery and rebuilding in the community.  Our focus has been on establishing The Hammock House as a safe place offering children & families a variety of emotional support programs and we will continue to offer new ways for families to mentally recover.”

Other ways they helped after the hurricane include:

  • The Hammock House accepted children whose daycare did not open right away.

  • They rented a trailer and enrolled the kids in The Hammock House for a family who lost everything, including their home.

  • They provided one family with 5 children funds needed to rent a moving truck following Irma and move to where they had a better support system.

  • All Hammock House staff were paid for the time missed when school was closed due to Hurricane Irma

  • Volunteer groups went to staff houses for recovery support and even provided a trailer for one teacher.

  • They immediately located a trailer to rent and placed it in the church parking lot for one Hammock House family, which included 3 generations and a new baby, rent free for 90 days so the family could figure out what their next step was.

  • They  have worked hard to make sure that they try to help every family that they engage with.

UWFK is glad that we could help The Hammock House as they worked hard to provide support for Middle Keys families who suffered loss during Hurricane Irma.  Together, we can Live United