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FISH services to grow with summer move

By Staff | Mar 18, 2015

New FISH offices at 2430 Periwinkle should open this summer. CRAIG GARRETT

One of the island’s most important nonprofits is gearing up for a move down the street.

FISH of Sanibel-Captiva this summer will relocate to 2430 Periwinkle, a former office several times larger than the agency’s current location at 1630 Periwinkle. The new location will adjoin an offshoot of the Blue Windows Bistro in Fort Myers, which opens in May, FISH president Maggi Feiner said.

Expanding FISH means more elbow room for the food pantry and services to some 1,700 individuals and 1,300 households in Sanibel and Captiva, Feiner said. Walk-in coolers, expanded storage and program expansion are expected with the move.

“It’ll be wonderful to enhance our services,” Feiner said. “There are so many limitations (here).”

There’s no question Sanibel and Captiva are blessed with higher income islanders. But there are many households in need in the islands. Friends in Service Here of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc., plans to help every one of them, Feiner said. Clients range in age from 6 months to 100, some on disability or fixed incomes. Many are working families at the restaurants and resorts, often struggling with food shortages. Qualified clients use the pantry regularly, Feiner said.

The FISH food pantry, where over 76,000 pounds of food was distributed last year, is located at the organization’s walk-in center on Periwinkle. Any islander would never guess that so much food could come out of such a small, outdated pantry, but over a hundred volunteers work around the clock to ensure it’s maximized. Sometimes, it’s still not enough.

There are currently two pantries at the walk-in center at 170 and 135 square feet, with a 130-square-foot storage room. A rear-entrance ramp access at the new facility will deliver visitors to a greeting desk, where they’ll be directed to services.

The front of the FISH offices on Periwinkle will be a new restaurant. The Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro should open the first week of May, co-owner Mari Vivet said. Mari and Christian Vivet also own the Blue Windows French Bistro in Fort Myers. Islanders, Mari Vivet said, have been asking the couple to locate in Sanibel. The new store will seat around 75, offer a similar menu, she said.

“It has been a dream of ours for years,” Mari Vivet said of the move to Sanibel.

For more information on Friends in Service Here of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc., visit fishofsanibel.com or call 472-4775.