F.I.S.H. food pantry seeking donations to fill its bare shelves
Food pantries are supposed to provide a safety net for those who need a helping hand, but now the F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva Food Pantry needs the community’s help.
The food pantry makes a real difference in the community and for those who work on the islands. But during the summer months, when many return to their northern homes, the non-profit struggles.
“Summer months are particularly difficult for us. Many of our neighbors needing a hand up lose work hours in our off-season months,” President Maggi Feiner said. “Yet their bills still need to be paid, and they still need to feed their children, who are now at home and not benefiting from school provided meals. We try to purchase what we can on a limited budget to help our neighbors.”
According to volunteers, the shelves normally flow with food, especially during the seasonal months of October through April. Recently, though, there has not been much to stock, and people leave with less than they had hoped for. That is hard on everyone, especially the children and senior citizens who visit the pantry and rely on certain items being available.
“Maybe it’s just this time of year, but it’s been the last several months that we’ve struggled to keep our pantry stocked. And with the end of the Sanibel Farmer’s Market season, we don’t see any fresh fruits or vegetables being donated, which so many looked forward to and needed to keep their household nutritionally balanced,” Maria Espinoza, manager of the Walk-In Center, said. “We are thankful for those that host collection/drop off sites, as well as food drives throughout the year on behalf of F.I.S.H.”
Unopened, unexpired and nonperishable items can be donated at the following sites:
– Bailey’s General Store drop off bin, available during store hours
– Bank of the Islands drop off bin, available during bank hours
– F.I.S.H. drop off bin, available 24/7 outside the Walk-In Center entrance
– Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s Station 171, available 24/7 with a bell outside for drop offs after 4:30 p.m.; if no one answers, items can be dropped at the front door
– South Seas Island Resort’s main gate drop off bin, available 24/7
Perishable items may be brought to the Walk-In Center, at 2430 Periwinkle Way, Suite B, Sanibel, between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The food pantry is a choice pantry, where individuals may supplement their grocery needs. Those who qualify for the panty program can utilize it from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
For more information or to become a collection site, call Maria Espinoza at 239-472-4775.