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F.I.S.H. seeks donations to restock food pantry

By Staff | Jul 11, 2011

F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service Here) of Sanibel urgently needs to restock the food pantry. We are in need of food, cleaning and paper products. Over the past month, the demand for food and other items has grown steadily and we need your help.

When clients come to F.I.S.H. for the first time to use the food pantry, they are asked to complete the USDA form in order to qualify for food from the pantry. They must answer questions about their circumstances, their income, the number of members in the household, etc. in order to qualify to use our food pantry.

They also meet with either Christine Swiersz, the F.I.S.H. licensed clinical social worker, or Maggi Feiner, the F.I.S.H. Executive Director, who evaluate their needs. Once the interview stage and the USDA forms are completed, clients are issued an ID card. This card is updated annually and F.I.S.H. clients must re-qualify and sign new USDA forms each year.

Once clients have their ID card, they can come to the F.I.S.H. Walk-In Center and collect the food they will need for that week. Typically, clients come once per week and choose the food from the shelves, freezer and fridges. They then weigh the food and this information is recorded and signed in the log book at the front desk.

F.I.S.H. particularly needs the following items to be donated:

• Canned meats/fish (chicken, chili, tuna, etc.)

• Ketchup/salad dressing

• Macaroni and cheese

• Peanut butter

• Juices (apple, orange, etc.)

• Coffee

• Shampoo

• Laundry detergent

• Toilet paper

If you can help with any of these products or any unopened, unexpired food items, which are delivered directly to island families in need, we would be most grateful.

Nothing goes to waste at F.I.S.H. If we can’t use it, it is sent to the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen in Fort Myers. If the food isn’t suitable for humans to eat, it is donated to CROW on Sanibel to be given to the animals.

The F.I.S.H. Food Pantry is run by a group of 24 very dedicated Sanibel and Captiva volunteers who are involved in various elements of the food pantry operation, under the overall direction of Dick Schreck and the day-to-day operations of Maureen Valiquette. F.I.S.H. thanks their food stackers, shoppers, sorters of food delivery, recipe writers, Harry Chapin food ordering volunteers and drivers to the Salvation Army off island. We also thank all the neighbors and local businesses who kindly donate their unused food to the pantry.

Donations of food may be dropped off at the F.I.S.H. Walk-in-Center, located at 1630 Periwinkle Way, Unit B (next to Pfeifer Realty Group) open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at Bank of the Islands, located at 1699 Periwinkle Way (corner of Casa Ybel Road) on Sanibel . F.I.S.H. may also be contacted by calling 472-4775.