Neighbors helping neighbors. That’s what it’s all about at F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc. A full-service agency and United Way partner, FISH has been serving the community for 40 years through an array of food programs, island-based education, social and senior services, and Helping Hands financial assistance.
Maggi Feiner, President & CEO of FISH, explains how the recession of 2007 illustrated the need for a food pantry. Natural disasters over the decades have illuminated the water quality crisis. She proudly shares, “Today, we’ve grown to a full, wraparound social service organization serving over 5,000 people, distributing over 213,000 meals through our food pantry in 2021, offering an array of senior services to support aging on the islands, supporting our youth with a backpack program providing nutritious food for the weekends, holidays and summers, and much more.” FISH is serious about meeting the demand for services of those living and working on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
Although only a staff of 8 people, 175 volunteers keep FISH running strong, which solidifies the truth of the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” slogan. The entire community comes together to make sure needs are met and FISH continues to live out its mission.
Feiner recalls the many memories during her 18 years of volunteering with FISH. “I will never forget when we had mothers with young children come in because they only had a jar of peanut butter to feed the children; when seniors told us they were taking their beloved pets to shelters because they could no long afford to feed them; when a family had a child diagnosed with cancer and needed help with medical bills; when a senior widower lost his daughter/caregiver in a car accident and he had no one to help him or where to look for help.”
The Sanibel-Captiva community has truly risen to the challenge on numerous occasions. People have rallied together and shown extravagant generosity and compassion to help neighbors who need a hand. Feiner says, “Our community time and again, through thick and thin, has always banded together and partnered to make sure no one is left behind. I am truly grateful to each of them for that.”
If you want to learn more about FISH and its programs, consider attending a monthly event like a Friendly Faces Lunch or a Cooking with Leslie workshop. The free June Friendly Faces Lunch will be offered on Zoom and is open to anyone in the community. Or plan ahead and participate in the 10K Race 4 FISH on October 22.
To join FISH and become a neighbor helping neighbors, call 239-472-4775 or visit the website to learn more about volunteer opportunities. Join the email list email by sending a request to [email protected] Together, we can all provide the support our neighbors need.