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Robert Beck: If I May

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The thing that stuck with me last year was the pictures from the walls and objects from the tops of tables and desks strewn among shredded wallboard. There were lamps, rugs, kitchen appliances, furniture, bags of trash – a pile 15 feet high running along the side of the road.

It was the stuff people had kept over the years to remind themselves of good times and places, and buoy themselves in difficult moments, that connected me to the homeowners. A high school photo covered with gray smear, a plaque of appreciation, all in the pile.

A front-end loader was working its way down the street, scraping histories into large dumpsters. Trucks waited.

Things can change in an instant. We see examples all the time. The town continues to recover from last year’s flash floods on top of the regular demands of the community, which are significant.

Homelessness, domestic issues, and addiction exist here, just like everywhere. There are more families with no place to sleep and nothing to eat in our community tonight than you might realize. As the area grows, the social strain grows. It affects the well-being of the town. Your town.

There is a place to get help when people find themselves out of options and at the end of their rope. Fisherman’s Mark connects people to resources to get them back on their feet quickly, sustainably, and with dignity. Last year 1,700 people came to their door. They expect the same this year, and that’s without a hurricane or some other disaster. Sooner or later, one out of five residents will need help.

Fisherman’s Mark has answered that door for 42 years without galas and big tents. They are a small staff supported by volunteers, business partnerships, and a generous community. There is no direct government financial assistance. They rely on donations.

Fisherman’s Mark doesn’t give people money, but they need it to function. They target specific needs and operate economically. A monetary donation is the best way for you to make a difference in people’s lives. There are ways for volunteers to help, too.

This is the place we proudly tell people we are from. A place that is there for its neighbors. A place that will be there for you if things take a bad turn.

We are heading into winter. Please support Fisherman’s Mark with a donation. Be the help that’s needed.

Artist Robert Beck lives in Solebury Township.