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Meals-by-F.I.S.H. program provides meals to islanders

By Staff | Jun 29, 2018

The Meals-by-F.I.S.H. program delivers one hot, nutritious meal per day – up to five days a week, including extras for the weekend – to island neighbors.

Working in partnership with Bailey’s General Store, Chefs Karl and JT work tirelessly preparing the Meals-by-F.I.S.H. menu, while their staff sorts, bags and labels each meal on a daily basis. Each meal consists of a protein, starch and vegetable and runs on a two-week set menu cycle.

Meals may include oven-roasted bone in chicken with rice and vegetable, broiled Atlantic salmon with rice and vegetable, grilled chicken caesar salad, and more. Based on preferences or allergies, items may be substituted for a sub or salad, and the menu can be slightly modified to accommodate those with diabetes or other health conditions.

The service is provided to anyone who requests meals. Many are older individuals who no longer cook; some are younger singles recovering from an illness or injury. Individuals may receive meals for any length of time and may opt in/out of the program as needed.

Meals are picked up at 11:30 a.m., and delivery time varies depending on traffic, season and number of deliveries. Generally, meals are delivered approximately one hour after pick up.

All meals are subsidized and F.I.S.H. charges $7 per meal for self-paying individuals, including delivery by F.I.S.H. volunteers. While many pay for the cost of the meal themselves, others cannot afford to do so. On a case-by-case basis, FISH may subsidize a larger part or the entire cost of the meal, depending on the household situation.

“We have had some older folks suffer from poor nutrition because they were opting to pay prescription bills rather than buy food,” F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva President Maggi Feiner said. “We are glad to be able to provide some financial assistance for instances like these.”

One woman who utilizes the meals program five days per week said the following:

“I want you to know what your program means to me. I’m old, and it’s hard enough for me to get out and about these days, much less cook a meal. I cannot do the shopping, cause I’m not moving around like I used to do. I am grateful to your group who delivers the meals, and those wonderful people who cook them. Meatloaf with those mashed potatoes are so good! I could eat them every day. And I could visit with the people who bring the meals to me for hours, but I’m sure they have better things to do than gab with an old lady. I want to you know that I have not taken what you, and all your wonderful volunteers, do for granted. Thank you F.I.S.H.!”

She was referred to the program by a concerned neighbor. Others are referred by community partners, and some simply call in to inquire or request meal delivery.

For more information about the program, contact F.I.S.H. at 239-472-4775.