Pelican Fund founders mark two years helping others fight addiction
“They’re learning the tools they need to get sober,” Keene said. “Everyone wants a quick fix in this country, and this is not a quick fix. This is a slow process. Medications aren’t really addressing the issue of why people are using, and when you go through a 12-step program, it’s an interior journey.”
Over the past two years, the Pelican Intervention Fund has raised more than $125,000 in donations from Greater Newburyport community members and organizations, and has been able to send 21 people to nonprofit, long-term residential recovery programs across New England.
“We are so grateful for everything we’ve received from the community,” McCarthy said. “We never thought we would be this successful in terms of the money we’ve raised, the people we’ve met or the lives we’ve touched. It’s very humbling because we feel like we are being led on this pathway, and so many people have heard our request for help and have come forward.”
The group has been widely supported in the area, gaining recognition through Old South Presbyterian Church’s recent Festival of Wreaths and Trees, which benefited the fund, as well as other public events that have put them in the public eye.
McCarthy and Keene said none of the Pelican Fund’s income has come from state or local government funding. They expressed their gratitude to Newburyport area residents and businesses’ “extremely generous” support.
“Individuals have given us thousands of dollars but then there are the people that have given us $5 or $10, or have saved pennies for us,” Keene said. “It’s been very humbling. This is an example of a community embracing a really tough epidemic that is affecting everywhere in America.”
McCarthy noted that the group is always seeking help from community members, as well as donations so they can continue to carry out their mission of hope.
“The key is hope for other people — we can give them this opportunity, we raise the money but they do the hard work,” McCarthy said. “This method of caring is so vital to the people going through recovery, to know that someone values them and is willing to give a donation, even though that person doesn’t even know them.”