Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A Different Kind of Shelling at the Sanibel Community House

Many years ago, maybe 20 or so, Hubby and I went to the July 4th parade on Sanibel Island. A float in the parade passed by us and a sweet lady handed me a beautiful little flower made out of seashells. It had a tag on it that said Sanibel Shellcrafters. I was immediately intrigued as you all know my love for seashells! I still have that beautiful simple flower, and have joined this wonderful group, and yes have participated in 2 parades walking with the float and handing out Shellflowers that I have made!! I have probably been an active member about 7 or 8 years now...(that's just a guess) As a member of this group, we have a group email, and I received one of these emails when we were on our way down to Fort Myers. It was from the director of the Sanibel Community House, (this is where we shellcrafters meet every week, and all of the proceeds from the crafts we make go directly to them.) The email asked if anyone nearby could come and store some of the products the Shellcrafters had made in an Air Conditioned place. They were able to save quite a few arrangements and Crafts, and felt like they needed to be stored in a safe place as the Community House took about 5 foot of water inside during Hurricane Ian. A lot was lost, but a lot was saved also!  I contacted her and offered our guest bedroom to store these treasures. So she came by on Saturday and picked me up and took me to there....

The drive there was very similar as it used to would never guess that this causeway was broken in 5 places!!

They continue working on it daily....

Coming onto the island is instantly very different, no longer the lush green tropical paradise we all know in love.

Most of the tall vegetation is gone and what is left is thin and brown. I actually just sat there looking at it all, and didn't think to take pictures! I had seen so many on facebook and from friends, it truly looks like a war zone, except for the fact that there is work going on EVERYWHERE! I have wanted, ever since Ian hit to come down here and help....anyway I could! Just help!

So Teresa (the director of the Community House) took me there, from the outside it isn't readily apparent of the damage inside, there are a few tarps on the roof, vegetation around it is also in bad shape....

But inside is a different story....

This is the front part of the community house, the historical part, so it doesn't have the standard concrete pad, it had pillars and Hardwood floors that all had to be removed, they are trying to save as much of the original building as possible and restore it!

This is looking at the front door ( the historical area is to my left) as you can see the sheet rock has been removed above the water line....

Looking toward the kitchen...

These are the Shellcrafters supply racks, shells, projects people were working on, supplies....they have worked very hard to save all they could, keep in mind, it was salt water from the gulf that came in here, so they have been cleaning everything! What a job!

A lot of the completed crafts were on shelves above the waterline, we carefully loaded those into containers and then into Teresa's car...
then into my house...

There were a lot saved, now safely stored in my guest room. 

Teresa has been very short handed as several people had to quit due to losing their homes, so I offered to help all I could, and she accepted! So finally I get to contribute! She has picked me up all this week to take me out for the day(you have to have a hurricane pass to go onto Sanibel, only given to residents, business owners and contractors). 

My job is not glamorous but I believe it's helping. I have been working on the Shell Fossils that were stored in an outer building...which we affectionately call the garage.. 

It looks like the water got much higher in here as it is lower in the parking lot.... It's hard to see, so I put a red line on the water line here above my head (I'm about 5'8)! 

It apparently got this deep and then went down to about 4 feet and stayed at that level for a while

These fossils were stored on these shelves, in cardboard boxes, in these bags...if you look closely, you can see that the water stopped just short of the top shelf...look at the difference in the bags!

The bags on the lower shelves still have sea water in them, notice the containers on the left (next to top shelf) are still full of water!

My job is to pull each one out, and clean them to get the sea water off of them, it is toxic so 2 layers of tall gloves is a must!

and we found out that each shell is in a ziplok bag!! so it's very time consuming and it's important to be careful with these shells!

There's no power or water inside so we are working outside, I found a nice shady palm tree to work under....

So this is the shelling I'm doing this time, I hope to work a few more days, then back up North around Thanksgiving. 

If you want to help, they sure could use all they can get!! Contact the Sanibel Community House!!

Stay tuned!

::Shelllady Hugs::

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cheri - What a massive mess. Thanks for the photos. I can't imagine how bad it is to see in person. I know how important The Sanibel Community House is to you and I can't think of a better person to be helping them out.