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F.I.S.H. services continue amid COVID-19 crisis

By Staff | Apr 10, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Abby Deloache stocks shelves at F.I.S.H

While F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva is monitoring the health crisis situation closely and following guidance as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health, it is still in operation and ready to support the community through necessary services such as the food pantry, meal delivery, children’s food backpack and emergency financial assistance programs.

“In order to protect our clients, volunteers and staff, we are temporarily distributing pre-packed bags of groceries for our food pantry clients,” Food Program Director Maria Espinoza said.

In accordance with the social distancing six-foot rule, F.I.S.H. has also marked off where people should stand while waiting for food. For those who live on Sanibel or Captiva who are unable to visit the pantry, particularly seniors, F.I.S.H. can arrange delivery.

“Many of our neighbors are in need of additional assistance during this time as their hours are being drastically cut or they are losing employment entirely,” Espinoza said. “With children out of school, there’s an additional strain on families. We’ve not only seen an increase in food pantry usage, but also in our children’s backpack program that provides healthy food and snacks for children K-12.”

In order to serve the islands, F.I.S.H. is adapting operations and taking precautions during the COVID-19 crisis by minimizing contact in all of its critical programs. The organization, which relies heavily on volunteers to help provide services and programs, has cut out nearly all volunteer service within the Walk-In Center to reduce exposure. Volunteers are still assisting with programs in the community, such as meal delivery, grocery pick-up and daily reassurance calls.

PHOTO PROVIDED Fernando Espinoza delivers meals.

Additionally, the Meals-by-F.I.S.H. program is now a “deliver and go” scenario, leaving meals outside clients’ doors in coolers, followed up with a phone call to the recipient. Finally, emergency financial assistance requests are handled over the phone with documentation transferred electronically.

“As an essential service provider, we have every intention of maintaining critical services, particularly those that involve food and shelter, and that means making adjustments for everyone’s safety,” Executive Director Alicia Tighe said. “We’re humbled and moved by the way our community has jumped into action to support F.I.S.H. and those we serve in this time of unprecedented need. Our islands exemplify our motto: Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

The Walk-In Center and food pantry is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information or questions, contact Tighe at 239-472-0404 or alicia@fishofsancap.org.

PHOTO PROVIDED Anna Woodall greets food pantry clients.

PHOTO PROVIDED David Baker donates lemonade stand proceeds to F.I.S.H.

PHOTO PROVIDED Island children create cards for seniors.