Saturday, September 19, 2009

F.I.S.H. desperately needs food to help feed the hungry

F.I.S.H. desperately needs food to help feed the hungry

A few cans of tuna, some beans and a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese.

That?'s pretty much the supply of food left at Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.) to feed the growing number of hungry families and individuals on the islands.

"We are getting virtually no donations of canned goods,"? said F.I.S.H. president Maggi Feiner.

Feiner said she is seeing more needy clients every day. Over a short period, she now goes through nearly a ton and half of food.

The local human service organization ran out of milk one day and is tripling how much food they buy from the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Fort Myers. Though F.I.S.H. buys the food at discount, the larger food bank is running low too, Feiner said.

Aside from that issue, the money - about $500 a week used for basics food items such as eggs and milk - diminishes the amount of emergency funds available for helping needy residents pay for utility bills and rent, Feiner said.

The $500 figure is based on helping about 50 people a week at around $10 a head, she added.

The problem has several roots: seasonal residents and visitors are not here to donate, the lack of people is causing the seasonal slowdown and - in some cases - a shutdown of businesses, leaving workers laid off and without a paycheck.

"Everybody'?s gone,"? Feiner said.

Though the lower population and slower business activity is standard at this time of year, coupled with the poor economy and high unemployment, more people are becoming strapped and without money to meet basic needs.

Canned items food donations for people and even pets are desperately needed, Feiner noted. The dog and cat food helps owners keep their pets and not be forced
to relinqish them to the shelters.
To make a food donation or to help, visit F.I.S.H. at their Walk-In Center at The
Sanibel Realty Center, located at 1630 Periwinkle Way, Suite B. The Walk-In Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For additional information, call F.I.S.H. at 472-0404.

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