A group that supports fishing families in Newport has established a fund to help those affected by COVID-19.
The commercial fishing industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Demand plummeted with the widespread closures of restaurants. Then the virus spread through workers at several seafood processing plants on the Oregon coast.
A longtime support group called Newport Fisherman's Wives is accepting applications for a new grant program to help fishing families pay for basic needs such as medical bills or utilities.
“We’re used to being able to stretch our incomes, but this has been going on for such a long time that families just aren’t recovering from it quickly,” said Taunette Dixon, the group's co-president.
Dixon says the grant program is available not just to people who work on boats, but to cannery workers or other people who work at other businesses that support the fishing industry.
"It’s definitely going to hurt for a period of time," said Dixon. "It’s going to take a while for the industry to come back from this hit. But hopefully things will start normalizing.”
The deadline to apply for a grant from Newport Fisherman's Wives is August 19th. Dixon said the funding for the grants is coming from a private, anonymous donor.