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FISH gets new, bigger office

By Staff | Sep 3, 2009

FISH volunteers and clients often comment enthusiastically that working with FISH can be a moving experience. With a different sort of satisfaction, on Tuesday, Sept. 1, FISH Walk-In-Center operations moved from The Village Shops to The Sanibel Realty Center at 1630 Periwinkle Way, Suite B. The new Walk-In-Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

The move comes as a result of the ever increasing demands on the services provided by FISH, an organization that has been serving the needs of the elderly and friends in need for almost 30 years. City Manager Judie Zimomra sums up the need for the move, affirming “The requests and demands on FISH have increased exponentially with the recent increase in economic hardships for some of Sanibel’s vulnerable citizens.” Made available through the generosity of our friend Joan Good, the new offices almost double the space of the previous facility and come with reduced rent and donated furnishings.

Bill Fellows, Board member and Director of Resource Development, is very excited about the new accommodations. “Thanks to this recent move, we are now a “One Stop Shop.” The enlarged space allows for storage of our home health equipment, including wheel chairs, walkers, crutches and canes, and will make some on-site pick up possible. The food pantry will have room for two refrigerators, one freezer, shelving for non-perishable food products and personal items that are not available at food banks off the island. And we will now have a private computer room to provide clients with internet access for job searches and to apply for benefits such as unemployment compensation, food assistance, and Veterans Administration funds.” In addition, the new FISH Walk-In-Center will also have a small conference room for private meetings with clients and families.

The move to new space has been accomplished through the generosity of many members of the Sanibel and Captiva community. Kevin Vertesch of Hahn Construction says “We were honored when FISH asked us become a part of this project. It presented a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community that has supported us all these years and at a time when it matters the most.”

A great big thank you goes out to Dan Hahn and Kevin Vertesch of Hahn Construction, who donated timely and functional space modification and coordinated the upgraded utilities provided by Jeff Molnar of Molnar Electric, Roger Tabor of Nave Plumbing, and Bryan Hayes and Carol Schapiro of Sanibel Air Conditioning. Thanks also go to Barefoot Charley, who spruced up the space with a nifty paint job. And finally, our deepest gratitude goes to FISH volunteers and clients who diligently worked together to pack up the old Center and move it to the new location. Much of the hard work was completed by Randy and Brian Carson, Scott Marcelais, Doug Tabor, Jeff Rios, Brandon Munsell, Ed Ridlehoover, Lyn Kern, Genny Gray, Marcia Leslie, Shirley Bohnert and Kathy Boyd.

The generous support of the Sanibel and Captiva residents and businesses is always emotionally moving, but these special contributions have transported FISH to a new place where it will continue its mission of neighbors helping neighbors. All members of the community can be proud of the new Walk-In-Center. You are all invited to stop by to see the space and participate with FISH in serving our community.