October 2023

View From The Bridge
"Neighbors helping neighbors in need by bridging the gaps that exist in our local support systems"
What's Happening

When we think of SWFL during the summer, words like “slow,” “empty,” or “sleepy” may come to mind. Not so for The Bridge Fund (TBF) in Summer 2023. Compared to the previous year, 2023 saw an increase in rent and utility assistance from $81.5K to $142K. While much of the increase was due to higher rents and utility costs, the number of families helped increased as well. In the summer of 2023, TBF assisted 102 families and individuals, up from 72 the previous summer.

By early August, Lee County schools were back in session. TBF was there, providing funding for school Food Pantries and Clothes Closets to give the most vulnerable families help with their basic needs bridging the gaps between struggle and survival. Almost three months into the school year, these needs continue to outpace expectations.

Overall, the summer and early fall indicate that 2023 will be the busiest in the TBF’s 11 year history!
Get To Know The Bridge Fund

"The Bridge WHAT?" If you have a neighbor, friend or new acquaintance who doesn’t know much about your local charity, The Bridge Fund, please forward this newsletter to them to let them know that there are two “Get to Know Us” drop-in sessions at the PL Community Center.

Tuesday, October 31st 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Thursday, November 9th 3:00 - 5:00 pm

They can register by clicking here to email their name(s) and the date they plan to attend. If they're unable to join us, but wish to learn more about The Bridge Fund, they may click here, and more information will be emailed to them.
A Year After Hurricane Ian

Just days ago, we passed the first anniversary of the devastating arrival of Hurricane Ian, which left thousands of Lee County residents homeless, temporarily displaced, jobless or without transportation. Federal and state agencies came in to provide much needed help, but soon moved on to the next disaster. Along with many of our Partners, TBF stepped in to provide help with housing costs, auto repairs, storage unit payments, new dry beds and other basic furnishings. We expect requests for assistance will continue for years to come.
When There's Nowhere Else...
A Haitian family recently settled in Lee County by way of Brazil. While in Brazil, their son contracted meningitis, resulting in profound permanent disabilities. The family carried him in their arms wherever they went.

With no other agencies available to help, TBF purchased a specialized medical stroller to assist with the child's transportation needs.

"The family was so grateful. The mother broke down and cried because now she can take him for walks in the neighborhood and on public transportation. She could only go a few houses down before because she carried him. Now she can walk for miles, she said." Refugee Case Worker
Our Partners: At the Heart of What We Do
Young Parent Education Program (YPEP) is a public school in Ft. Myers that provides a nurturing academic environment for teen parents and their children. The school allows young parents to continue their academics with the peace of mind of childcare on campus, along with support of administration, teachers, and staff. 

"Thank you to all the kind and wonderful people at The Bridge Fund!! Thank you for caring for our students. This year your help has allowed students to smile again (dental work), filled countless hungry tummies (food pantry) and more. Your work has had a profound impact on us all. Thanks so much!!" YPEP Social Worker

All of us at TBF thank you for being a part of our Bridge Fund Family. We'll connect with you again in the New Year!
The Bridge Fund

A Pelican Landing/Colony-based 501(c)(3) charity
assisting neighbors in need since 2013

Board Members: Mike Beebe, President; Jim Herald, Vice President; Beverly Haas, Vice President; Ann Soper, Secretary and Treasurer; Ron Bloom, Caroline Crew, Aileen Kevane, Sandy Mellinger, Bob Taylor, and Jay Trucks