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Market donations will be missed at the F.I.S.H. food pantry

By Staff | May 30, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva volunteer Elaine Parente sorts produce at the food pantry provided through the Sanibel Island Farmers Market.

The Sanibel Island Farmers Market and its fruits, vegetables, breads and cheeses were greatly appreciated at the F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva food pantry again this season.

F.I.S.H. and the market join forces annually to provide fresh products to neighbors who use the food pantry. Betsy Ventura and Jean Baer, owners of Local Roots, which operates eight farmers markets in Lee County, organize the market throughout season and suggest vendors pack boxes of unsold fruits, vegetables and goodies for the pantry. At the end of every market on Sunday, F.I.S.H. volunteers pick up, sort and stock the donated items at the pantry, at 2430 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

Participating vendors that donate to F.I.S.H. include European Bakery, operated by the Foerschner family; Straight From NY York Bagels, operated by the Sexton family; and Gallego’s Farm, operated by the Gallego family.

“F.I.S.H. and our neighbors greatly appreciate the generosity of the farmers market. We cannot thank Betsy, Jean and the generous vendors enough for helping supply healthy choices for those that use our pantry. The continued support of the farmers market and their eagerness to help is an integral part of our program’s success,” F.I.S.H. President Maggi Feiner said. “The volunteer teams, some of which include island youth earning community service hours, who pick up from the market and organize our food pantry on Sunday afternoons deserve our heartfelt thanks, as well. We could not provide these wonderful healthy foods to our community without their help.”

While the farmers market, island businesses, residents and visitors make donations to help keep the food pantry stocked, the slower summer months deplete its shelves. This time of year in particular, the pantry needs help and accepts donations of food, including perishables, personal products and other items, from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. During non-business hours, individuals may leave unopened, unexpired non-perishable food and other items in the drop-off bin located outside the Walk-In Center entrance.

F.I.S.H. is always in need of:

– Canned products: Tuna, chicken, vegetables and soup; fruits and fruit juices; pork and beans; stews and other meats

– Packaged foods: Pasta, lentils, pinto and other beans; macaroni and cheese, and packaged dinners; instant soups; hot and cold cereals; peanut butter and other nut butters; and nutritional bars like protein, granola, energy or breakfast bars

The food pantry is a vital service for many households. Once qualified by F.I.S.H., households are given a food pantry card to shop for items to supplement their grocery needs.

The pantry is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

For more information, visit fishofsancap.org or contact the Walk-In Center at 239-472-4775.