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FISH shares appreciation for volunteers at luncheon

By Staff | Mar 6, 2009

Vicki Marcus loves her special dates on Tuesday. This is when the Friends in Service Here (FISH) board member socializes with an older resident on the island.

“We have a ball,” Marcus said.

For Marcus the joy she gets outs of spending time with the older FISH client is equal to the person’s need for companionship.

“It makes me feel good because it reminds me of my grandmother,” Marcus said.

In the amount of hours that most people might work in two years, about 150 local volunteers – mostly retired – have done in a year for Friends in Service Here (FISH).

Without pay, vacations or any other fringe benefits volunteers such as Marcus deliver meals to the needy, socialize with the lonely and bring countless residents without transportation to their doctor appointments.

To honor these volunteers, FISH held a Volunteer Recognition Day and luncheon at the Traditions Restaurant at the Island Inn on Feb. 26.

President Maggi Feiner lauded and heaped praise on the volunteers for giving chunks of their lives to help others at FISH.

“They’re the most important assett,” Feiner said.

Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra thanked the volunteers and FISH agency for their role in meeting the needs of the community.

“I am very appreciative of all of the work you do,” she said.

But for the volunteers, the work isn’t a burden but rather a motivator to keep helping the needy and down trodden.

“It’s spontaneous withour compensation,” said Joel Soobitsky, volunteer manager of recognition.

Soobitsky scanned the room filled with smiling volunteers and reiterated their importance during these rough times. He highlighted the readiness of the island volunteers to come when needed – often at a moment’s notice.

“I wish we could franchise this around the world,” Soobitsky said. “It’s something that every community needs today.”