The news of the devastation suffered in Jackson County from Hurricane Michael made national news in October and continues to do so three months later. Jackson County suffered extensive damage, many without power and the bare necessities for weeks, with roads still a daily struggle, many homes still surrounded by water and debris. It’s been over 100 days and the help is continuing with the latest arriving today (Thursday). Sisters on the Fly will arrive today and be in Marianna through January 22.
Sisters on the Fly is a very unique organization, a national adventure group of women, who are now over 12,000 strong. They camp together in mostly vintage campers that will be camped today through Tuesday. They asked their corps group from the Pensacola area to help with rebuilding, clean up and repairing homes in the Panama Beach area post Hurricane Michael. They did this also in Texas, post Hurricane Harvey.
They have now organized a group of 70 Sisters from across the country with some coming from as far away as 1,000 miles, to rally the wagons and help the residents of Marianna. They will have boots on the ground, camping at the Trinity Baptist Church, armed with women-power, tools, saws, paint, cleaning supplies, clothing, pet supplies, gift cards, etcetera to help those families in need, as well as a no-kill shelter, and a woman’s shelter. All of this will be through donations of their time and money. They will be hosting an auction at their meet and greet and presenting the entire proceeds to one of the shelters.
They will be working in conjunction with a few of the churches here to get in contact with those families in need. They have received seven full pages of personal requests from families in dire need of help. One family with six children lost everything and are waiting on a trailer.
In an interview with Kelly Tallant of Sisters on the Fly, she told the TIMES a little about the history and origin of Sisters on the Fly (SOTF), “Sisters on the Fly was created probably about 20 years ago by two women who decided they were going to be adventurous while their husbands went out fishing without them and they went out and got a camper and started fly fishing. One thing led to another and fast forward to today. We are now over 12,000 women strong with women doing this. Most of them have vintage campers that they fixed up to camp in. We are all over the country from every state. I think there is now one in Australia and London. Our main leader asked me poll a group here to see if we would be interested in going over to help and of course we like to give back to the community. We said, of course we’d like to do that. We did this in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and it was a smaller group of women and the first time we had done it.”
Tallant said they put the word out to other sisters in the group and they have 70 women from as far away as Texas, Ohio and New York who are all going to be converging down on the Marianna area. The reason they chose that area is that one of the sisters’ mother does a lot of work for the churches over here in the rebuilding and construction.
Tallant had a little extra spark in her voice when she said, “We are going to rally the wagons like the old-fashioned way and we are going to have campfires, we are going to bring our campers in and we have a kitchen crew that the church is allowing us to use their kitchen for cooking. We have ten groups of seven women and we are going to go out to various homes whether it’s cleaning their homes, taking out sheetrock, painting or just whatever needs to be done.”