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F.I.S.H. assists neighbors in need

By Staff | Apr 16, 2020

COVID-19 has caused incredible hardship for communities across the globe, and Sanibel and Captiva are no different. With support from islanders, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva is continuing to operate critical services that provide basic needs, such as a food and shelter, to those affected. Keeping up with the latest pandemic data and figures is daunting, but F.I.S.H. wants to share what its clients are facing.

“These scenarios are not unlike what see year-round, but they’re being exacerbated exponentially by the current crisis,” Executive Director Alicia Tighe said. “We feel that by sharing stories, omitting actual names and identifying details, it reinforces the human-side of an unthinkably large problem. These are emotional stories of real people, but there is so much hope in the ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ response that’s occurring that it’s also really uplifting.”

The following is a story of a recent F.I.S.H. client:

“My name is Steven, my wife Linda and I both work on Sanibel – each with two jobs at local restaurants. We’re raising three boys, ages 2, 5, and 9, who are a handful on a good day, but with school out it’s become a house full of chaos.

Not long after the kids were sent home from school because of the coronavirus outbreak, my wife and I lost four of our jobs, almost overnight. We’ve been trying to file for unemployment benefits but it has been a struggle, so someone told us to call F.I.S.H.

Through phone interviews, I discussed the situation my family is in and they immediately explained ways F.I.S.H. could help my family. Thankfully, our biggest fear was put to rest, because they have paid our mortgage and utility bills for this month. We have started using the F.I.S.H. food pantry in order to help feed our family – our kids get their own food “backpacks” that have special snacks and meals they’re excited about eating. The boys were thrilled on Easter when they received baskets with books, treats, and a toy for each of them (and a meal for the five of us to share together) provided by F.I.S.H.

Linda and I have never had to ask for help and didn’t know where to start when this all happened. I don’t know when we will be able to get back to work and back to normal, but we’re so grateful to know that a place like F.I.S.H. exists and hope others become aware too.”

The F.I.S.H. Walk-In Center and Food Pantry is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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