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F.I.S.H. offers hurricane assistance

By Staff | Sep 18, 2017

F.I.S.H. hit the ground running after they officially reopened the doors after Hurricane Irma to fulfill the needs of the community.

F.I.S.H. President and CEO Maggi Feiner said as of Friday, Sept. 15, their office was back up and running, despite some computer issues.

“Other than that we are fully operational,” she said. “We have been contacting employers trying to get the word out that we are fully functional.”

F.I.S.H. was already taking in donations, receiving phone calls and delivering meals to the elderly in need. Bailey’s General Store, Feiner said has been phenomenal offering milk, eggs, juice and whatever they need to fill their food pantry for people.

In addition, Feiner said they were giving out gift cards for gasoline and groceries for those in need.

“We work with them to see exactly what they need,” she said.

Some of that need is finding a hotel for them to sleep. Feiner said they found a place for one islander to go after a tree had come down on his place.

“We are helping those who have no place to go, or they don’t have the money for gas because they used it for hotels,” she said. “We are just beginning to see what the affects are. We are working very closely with the city and police department locating those that have left the island and assisting those that need the help with food and gas and October rent is coming up really soon.”

One of the first things F.I.S.H. staff did when they were deemed operational Friday, was make phone calls to find where people are if they have returned, or when they expect to return as well as finding out what help they may need, either food, or shelter.

“It’s a horrible stressful time for a lot of people. One of the things that I have found through this whole process is everyone really is looking out for each other. We are making phone calls to the employers . . . we are here to help if they need assistance,” Feiner said.

As of Friday, she said they were low on volunteers because some had not made it back to the island yet, or had their own homes to tend.

“We’ve had visitors visiting the island say ‘I’m here, what can we do to help you.’ They are in here helping us stock shelves, delivering meals,” she said. “Even the visitors are here helping. It’s a special place.”

F.I.S.H. is located at 2430-B Periwinkle Way. They are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If assistance is needed after operating hours, call the answering service at (239) 472-0404.

“We are getting the phone calls now, but not as much as I think we are going to see in the next week, or two,” Feiner said. “We have got wonderful partners here on the island. A lot of the businesses, Community Foundation of the Islands, United Way everyone is pitching in and saying what do you need. The partnerships are phenomenal.”

She said F.I.S.H. is there no matter what the need might be.

“If we can’t help you we will refer you out to someone,” Feiner said, adding that they are handling most of the needs through their partnerships.