Rotary Happenings: Fiener provides overview of F.I.S.H.’s assistance
Some islanders may think that our beautiful islands of Sanibel and Captiva are protected from the wows and troubles of society beyond our shores. In some cases that might be true, but when you realize that our local island human service organization – F.I.S.H. (Food Program, Island Based, Social Service, Helping Hands) received 14,399 service requests from 2,772 individuals last year, you realize there are people that are truly suffering with the same problems that exist in society throughout the United States.
Maggie Fiener, president and CEO of F.I.S.H., made a visit to Rotary last week to give the club a review of the organization’s services based on last year’s wrap-up number reports:
* 502 families visited the F.I.S.H. Food Pantry, utilizing 131,625 pounds of food
* F.I.S.H. volunteers delivered 2,633 meals to island neighbors through Meals-by-F.I.S.H. Program
* 1,063 backpacks containing weekend food were distributed to our island youth
* F.I.S.H. financially assisted our island youth to attend 703 instances of the After-School Program
* F.I.S.H. volunteers provided 7,662 hours of service on behalf of F.I.S.H.
* F.I.S.H. volunteers made 1,345 reassurance calls to our island neighbors
* F.I.S.H. volunteers drove 32,184 miles on behalf of F.I.S.H.
* 102 households received a F.I.S.H. Hurricane Preparedness Resource Packet
* F.I.S.H. Social Workers provided 366 instances of Emergency Financial Assistance
* F.I.S.H. Social Workers provided 1,104 instances of case management
Before detailing some of the services F.I.S.H. currently provides for islanders, island workers, and tourist, let’s talk about Maggie Fiener herself. To a certain extent Maggie is responsible for the expansion of a small supportive program on the Islands that focused on our senior population and ran a small supply depot of medical equipment that was lent out to islanders in need of this equipment temporarily. Maggie was a volunteer for F.I.S.H. and president of the Board of Directors for a few years before F.I.S.H. decided that the community really needed additional human service programs and needed a permanent base of operation, from home based to store front with office/supply space and a food pantry.
At the same time, the board realized they needed a permanent on-site CEO to help define the community’s human services needs and how F.I.S.H. could address those needs. Maggie was asked to become that CEO and would only accept the position as a volunteer no salary. She now leads the daily operations working along with F.I.S.H.’s 12-member volunteer board. F.I.S.H. does have a small staff of administrative and management professionals, along with full-time social workers. Annually F.I.S.H. has a think-tank focus group that takes time reviewing and evaluating the services being offered and how to improve those services and what the future needs of the community might be.
Do the islands have needs, consider this an aging population with medical, mental health issues, nutritional and home safety issues and transportation help; seasonal hours for workers with fluctuating salaries, latch key kids, substance abuse, need for school help, youth at risk, bullying, just to mention some.
So, what do they really do now? Here goes:
* Food Pantry; kids backpack; Meals-by-FISH; holiday assistance; daily phone reassurance; medical equipment loan; hurricane preparedness; transportation; visitation, computer distribution; monthly luncheon; Case management and counseling.
* Computer workstations; community referrals; ACCESS assistance; ESOL; employment assistance; healthcare referrals; mom health referrals; VITA; immigration assistance; free notary and tutoring.
* Budgeting; Health & Wellness Series; crime prevention; nutrition; home health provider; resume writing; SAFE; SHINE; and more.
F.I.S.H. may be able to provide emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, mobile mammography, medical/dental needs and more. Before anyone is considered for our Helping Hands Program, our Program Director discusses current needs and conducts an in-depth qualification interview.
Maggie thanked San-Cap Rotary for being a financial supporter of F.I.S.H.’s after-school program this year and for the relationship between these two organizations for many years.
Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Guests are always welcomed.