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FISH features monthly shopping trips to Walmart

By Staff | May 15, 2009

Some are hard of hearing. While others can’t see so well anymore. Some are challenged by both sight and hearing difficulties. But all of these folks share a few things in common, they are island residents – mostly seniors – who in most cases live alone.

To ease this burden of being physically challenged and isolated, the Friends in Service Here (FISH) worked out a plan with St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church to provide bus service to and from Walmart in Fort Myers.

The service began on April 29, when an inaugural group of four residents and several FISH volunteers met at the FISH Walk-In Center off of Periwinkle Way and boarded a mini bus provided by the St. Michael’s church. A church volunteer drove the bus.

According to FISH volunteers, the passengers had fun on the recent Walmart trip.

“It was not only a shopping trip but it was a social outing for them,” said FISH administrator Maggi Feiner.

After a year of trying to come up with a way to transport homebound residents to a shopping center, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel partnered with St. Michael and All Angels Church to provide transportation for a monthly trip to WalMart for the island’s elderly and disabled who cannot drive.

Father John Corbiere, priest for St. Michael’s church, is delighted over the newly formed partnership with FISH.

“I think it’s a way that we as an Episcopal church can contribute to the island,” he said.

Father Corbiere lauded FISH’s efforts to make a difference in the community and said he wanted to support them.

Here’s how the program works: Volunteers pick-up the people wishing to go on the Walmart excursion at their homes and bring them to the FISH Walk-In Center. FISH volunteers then join the passengers on the bus and head out to Walmart where they spend about an hour shopping. The bus then comes back to FISH. FISH volunteers will drive the shoppers back home.

The next trip to Walmart will be on Wednesday, May 20th at 1 p.m. Volunteers will pick people up at their homes at 12:30 p.m.

Residents wishing to participate in the monthly shopping trip to Walmart need to call the FISH Walk-In Center at 472-4775. Seating is limited.