homepage logo

F.I.S.H. brightens the holidays

By Staff | Dec 20, 2017

Maria Espinoza, with F.I.S.H. stands with donated Vera Bradley totes and purses that will be given to mothers this holiday season. MEGHAN MCCOY

F.I.S.H. is sprinkling some holiday cheer for families and seniors this holiday season with holiday baskets and presents.

Program Director Kathy Y. Monroe said the aftermath of Hurricane Irma had everyone knocking on their door with lines going around the building.

“We recovered from that. I think our community recovered very well from that. We had a lot of community partners in helping the clients that we served. We were very appreciative of that. We have a great community here, they just always step up to the plate,” she said.

The holiday season kicked off at F.I.S.H. with their Thanksgiving baskets. Seventy-six families received white potatoes, sweet potatoes, canned corn, a bag of stuffing, a can of cranberry sauce, canned gravy and carrots. The basket also included a $20 gift card for meat/protein.

“Our best partner with the Thanksgiving baskets is St. Michael’s and All Angels Church. They make pumpkin pie. You should see the smile on everyone’s face,” Monroe said. “We can feel the love that has gone into those pies.”

Private donors provided a number of presents this year for F.I.S.H.’s Adopt A Family holiday program. MEGHAN MCCOY

This year, 100 families will receive Christmas baskets, which is comprised of the same staples, except the pies will be substituted with store-bought pound cakes. She said this year a private donor provided 40 turkeys.

“He has already delivered 20 of them,” Monroe said, adding that the remaining 20 will be given out before Christmas.

Gift cards will be provided to the families that do not receive a turkey, so they too can serve protein with their meal.

In addition to the Christmas baskets, Monroe said they have identified some families with children that are not able to purchase presents.

“Here we go again with the wonderful residents of Sanibel and Captiva who want to adopt a family. These donors come forward and say do you have a family that we can do something for. We match them up with a family,” Monroe said.

F.I.S.H. asks the family what the child may need, or want, which is then communicated to the donor family. The family then purchases the items, wraps the items and brings them to F.I.S.H. to then be given to the family. Some of the items donated by the family includes bikes, clothes, toys, laptops and tablets.

Mother’s who are part of the Adopt A Family program, or identified to be in need, will receive a donated Vera Bradley tote or purses, which were provided by a private donor.

“Every year she donates something. From what I’m understanding it has brought some of the mothers to tears. They have not been forgotten in the process. They are so busy doing for everyone else,” Monroe said.

Friends Who Care, who have been nicknamed the “Holiday Cereal Bandits,” have also provided a helping hand to F.I.S.H. Monroe said they have donated more than 500 boxes of cereal to the pantry during the holiday season.

As of last Thursday, Island Seniors donated gift cards to F.I.S.H., worth $1,000, which were given to senior citizens in the community for the Senior Christmas Program. The gift cards are to such places as the pharmacy, Jerry’s and Bailey’s.

“We have identified some that we feel are in dire need,” Monroe said.

Fifteen adults, and 30 children create homemade Christmas cards for seniors and purchase store bought sugar free cookies, which were delivered Sunday, Dec. 17 at Casa Mariposa.

“There’s about a dozen or so seniors that live there. They are going to deliver the cookies and Christmas cards and they are going to carol,” Monroe said smiling. “CHR is going to have hot chocolate and coffee.”

She said with F.I.S.H. serving all of the seniors, the following day, Monday, Dec. 18, volunteers will deliver the cards and cookies outside of the Casa Mariposa community.