We are about half way through our annual F.I.S.H. of Sanibel (Friends In Service Here) community fund drive, and while we've had a generous response from many this year, we are falling short of our financial goal of $42,000 to keep our full range of F.I.S.H. services going.
F.I.S.H. relies heavily on the support of the community to meet its financial needs and unfortunately with the current economic environment the needs of some of our island neighbors are greater than ever. Demand for F.I.S.H. services has never been so great as this year. Keeping the food pantry stocked and being able to provide emergency financial assistance is the top priority for F.I.S.H. in 2010.
"There have been some significant success stories of island neighbors who have been given a hand up by F.I.S.H. this year," said Maggi Feiner, President of F.I.S.H. "Take Sally, a single mother of two children who lives and works on the island. She has her hours cut back over the past three months due to the economic climate. Until recently, Sally has been coping with her rent and other domestic expenses. As a result of the reduction in her weekly earnings, however, she has needed assistance with food for herself and her children."
F.I.S.H. has been able to help Sally out by providing food from the food pantry and their Program Director has been able to help her find her some state benefits that she is entitled to and that she was not aware of.
"These will help her on an ongoing basis," Feiner added.
Another example of how F.I.S.H. helps out island neighbors is John, an elderly man who has been a long term resident of Sanibel. Because of the recent cold weather, John was unable to pay his electric bill and was threatened with being cut off. After careful screening, F.I.S.H. stepped in and paid this bill and also assisted John by getting him a number of other resource referrals, who will help him on a more long-term basis.
"The economic impact has been felt by many, but now more than ever, F.I.S.H. really needs your help," said John Pryor, FISH Director of Resource Development. "If you have not already done so, we are asking you to consider making a donation to F.I.S.H."
According to Pryor, this can be done either by sending back your F.I.S.H. return envelope or by sending a donation directly to the Walk-In Center, which is now located at 1630 Periwinkle Way, Unit B (next to Pfeifer Realty Group) and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. F.I.S.H. may also be contacted by phone at 472-4775.