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F.I.S.H., CFI collaborate to help island neighbors

By Staff | Aug 16, 2019

Through a one-year grant awarded by the Charitable Foundation of the Islands, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva is able to help island residents and workers through its Helping Hands Program.

The program provides limited financial assistance when island neighbors fall on hard times.

“CFI is a dedicated partner that helps us provide assistance beyond what the resources of F.I.S.H. can provide alone. Our partnership is a vital link between F.I.S.H. and those we serve,” President Maggi Feiner said. “Without the strong, caring partnership between F.I.S.H. and CFI, our island neighbors may not have been able to feed their families, may have lost their homes and may have struggled in other ways. We are very grateful to have received this grant, as it is used to bridge the gap for many families on the islands.”

Partnering with CFI has made a difference in people’s lives, such as in the following cases:

– Family of four, including two small children

Both adults work on Sanibel and participate in the F.I.S.H. Food Pantry Program, Holiday Basket Program and School Supplies Program. The children attend The Sanibel School.

One of the adults began experiencing dizziness, stomach aches, headaches and nausea for a period of time before she was able to visit her doctor. After numerous tests, it was discovered that she had a tumor on her left ovary. Ovarian cancer is common in her family, and it was recommended that both ovaries be removed to prevent future problems. Fortunately, no cancer was found during the surgery.

Post-surgery, it was recommended that she recuperate for about one month before returning to work. The other adult was now the family’s sole source of income. They used their savings to pay deductibles and other portions of the $32,000 hospital bill and were unable to pay normal, day-to-day expenses, such as rent, utilities, other medical bills and grocery expenses. With CFI funding, F.I.S.H. was able to assist with rent, utility and medical expenses.

Both adults have expressed sincere gratitude for the assistance received, which kept them on track with living expenses while one of their recuperated. She is now back to work, and F.I.S.H. referred them to the hospital’s financial assistance program to arrange for payments on the remaining balance.

– Family of four, including three children

The adult works on Sanibel in the hospitality industry and participates in the F.I.S.H. Food Pantry Program.

As a recent graduate of a nursing assistant program, she is hoping to work at Lee Memorial Hospital to create a more balanced life for herself and the children. Currently, however, she mainly works in the afternoons and evenings, as the youngest child suffers from autism and needs therapeutic sessions several times a week.

Her income has been reduced due to the off-season, she suffered injuries in a car accident and the unexpected death of a family member resulted in funeral expenses that drained her small savings account. With CFI funding, F.I.S.H. was able to assist with rent. She also participated in the F.I.S.H. School Supplies Program and continues to use the Food Pantry Program to help offset expenses.

Based on need and eligibility, financial assistance through the CFI grant may be available as determined by F.I.S.H. Assistance is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and amounts vary depending upon financial status. Available funding is limited; assistance may cover only a portion expenses.

For more information, contact Kathy Y. Monroe or Nitza Lopez at 239-472-4775.