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

By Staff | May 7, 2020

Although there has been movements made to begin reopening businesses through a multi-phase plan, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva understands that the challenges and financial impact to island neighbors will continue for some time. Neighbors still need the community’s help, and F.I.S.H. continues to provide financial assistance, food for families and access to other necessary services, including remote referrals, consultations and well-check calls.

“Many of our clients are eager to return to work, however, significant damage has already been done financially,” Executive Director Alicia Tighe said. “Moreover, the uncertainty and limitations in how business can function right now, compounded by kids home from school, their own health issues, or health vulnerabilities of those they come home to, many of our clients will continue to struggle as the pandemic continues to play out.”

Kelly and John, whose names have been changed for client privacy, are a young couple working in the restaurant industry on Sanibel. Both are new to F.I.S.H. and were hesitant to request assistance. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 health crisis and John’s underlying health problems, they turned to F.I.S.H. to request financial assistance.

The following is Kelly and John’s story:

“We’ve been working on Sanibel for a long time at different restaurants. Everything was going great, in season we always are able to do very well financially, but COVID stopped us in our tracks. Almost in an instant, we found ourselves unemployed with just a small savings to live on. Our restaurant closed entirely, so our income was cut-off immediately. Our first concern was that John has Type-1 diabetes, and along with the job loss, we knew our health insurance would be next. His insulin and supplies are really expensive, and we can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket.

“We were scared and uncertain about asking for help; we’ve never done that kind of thing before, but we didn’t know what else to do. From the moment we made the call, we knew we had made the right choice. Everyone at F.I.S.H. was kind and understanding, and they offered some really good advice and referrals that may help us through this crisis. They paid for John’s medical supplies that first month, as well as our rent. We have also signed up for the food pantry. Now F.I.S.H. has connected us to a diabetic clinic and offered resources for medication to help reduce costs. They’re also working with us on how to get back on an insurance plan that is affordable to us in our current situation.

“We know this is going to be an uphill battle, but we are less stressed knowing that we can use the pantry and keep our rent current. The restaurants are opening up again, so that’s a good sign that we may be getting back to work soon. We really can’t thank F.I.S.H. enough for helping us through all of this.”

Due to ongoing construction, the F.I.S.H. Walk-In Center and food pantry hours have been altered to Saturday to Wednesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For questions or concerns, or for assistance, contact Tighe at 239-472-0404 or alicia@fishofsancap.org.