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Volunteers play big role at F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva

By Staff | May 14, 2018

Pat Boris

F.I.S.H. volunteers are the heroes who achieve remarkable accomplishments every day.

The volunteers have an impact on the lives of island neighbors and help to make the community stronger. F.I.S.H. volunteer Pat Boris joined the team about 14 years ago after a career in healthcare.

“My greatest joy is helping people stay healthy and that is what brought me to F.I.S.H., to provide help at the simplest level – food, healthy safe homes, connecting to resources,” she said.

“Most volunteers start as part-time islanders – snow birds – as I did. I collected food, added F.I.S.H. to our church mission outreach, posted pictures of our empty pantry and helped spread the word,” Boris said. “I worked at the front desk, meeting clients coming in wide-eyed for their first visit to the food pantry. They often apologized for a lost job, an inadequate job, an ill child or life circumstances. I am always proud to say, ‘This is why F.I.S.H. is here to help.'”

She got involved with home safety, especially with the elderly.

“Together with F.I.S.H. social workers, I developed an assessment tool to use at home visits that dovetailed with F.I.S.H. services. On our islands, many elders are alone, maybe after losing a mate, not wanting to impose on friends or neighbors or even family,” Boris said. “Sometimes they had no food in the house because they can no longer drive to the grocery store. Maybe there is mental confusion or falling issues. Whatever is discovered because of a home visit, F.I.S.H. has the resources to help. There’s no judgement, no shame. We are just neighbors helping neighbors.”

She has delivered meals and equipment, visiting many of the same clients for the hurricane preparedness program currently underway.

“Each encounter is well planned and personal, whether meals, equipment, hurricane, food pantry or other. Hundreds of hours are spent checking and rechecking details. There are phone calls, logs, hours and miles to track,” Boris said. “It’s never troublesome, it’s a labor of love.”

She found an amazing community of service with F.I.S.H.

“Maggi Feiner is always a step ahead, ready as the No. 1 volunteer,” Boris said. “The culture of giving in the F.I.S.H. office rubs off. Some of these needing help also give back when they can. One woman brings banana bread to the staff, another brings cookies.”

“The mission of F.I.S.H. has never gotten tired. Every volunteer finds their niche, a place of joyful service, and completes their tasks with enthusiasm and compassion, serving the clients in a dignified and humane manner,” she added. “I hope I have many more years to devote to F.I.S.H. I’ve watched it grow and change, but it always strives to meet the needs of people who come.”

Those interested in volunteering can contact Lyn Kern at 239-472-4775.