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Rotary Happenings: Rotary makes second donation to those in need

By Staff | May 19, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel-Captiva Rotarians Chet Sadler and Michael Raab, far left and right, present a check for $10,000 to F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva President Maggie Feiner, Harry Chapin Food Bank President Richard LeBar and F.I.S.H. Food Programs Director Maria Espinoza.

Sanibel is its own little paradise and has some of the most unique shops and businesses and premier restaurants to offer our locals and guests alike. Recently, for the safety of their employees and guests, during their prime season, the businesses were mandated to close their doors. A note that many people overlook when living in or visiting a paradise is the total number of people needed to make that paradise a reality. Employees that work in the food industry providing us with top-notch culinary experiences, employees that upkeep the rooms and houses that were occupied, employees in the stores that provide so many different shopping experiences, many of these people will never be seen, or least noticed. However, with the closing of businesses, these very employees that are the backbone of our paradise are out of a job and suffering extreme financial hardships. During a hurricane, these hardships are a few weeks and somewhat expected on an annual basis, but during this extreme time it has been going on for months causing financial devastation.

Last month, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club recognized the need in our community and contributed $10,000 to the Sanibel Community COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was managed by F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva to help the support staff of our community who have been unemployed due to the pandemic. The fund was created in conjunction with other service organizations on the islands, as well as individuals – a true community effort. It is with mixed emotions that it can be reported that many families were helped with the Rotary contributions, however, it is just the tip of the iceberg and that fund was quickly exhausted. Again, recognizing the continuing need in our community, the Rotary Club is contributing an additional $10,000 to help people from our community affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This contribution will be divided between F.I.S.H. and the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.

F.I.S.H. is a human services organization, focused for over 38 years on “neighbors helping neighbors.” The mission of F.I.S.H. is to lend a helping hand to those who live, work or visit the islands. Its vision is to enrich the lives of everyone on Sanibel and Captiva through an array of food programs, island based workshops, social services and Helping Hands.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief network in Southwest Florida, serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. Its need has increased 40 percent recently due to the effects of the pandemic. It distributes over 600,000 pounds of food each week to those who need a hand up. Most of its produce is donated directly from farms in which the food bank pays for the transportation of the food.

There is a true need for assistance and the Sanibel Community COVID-19 Relief Fund is open for receiving donations from the public and organizations. Donations can be sent to F.I.S.H. with COVID-19 Fund in the memo line. Contributions may also be made to the Harry Chapin Food Bank through its Website.

In light of COVID-19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club is meeting on Fridays at 7 a.m. via Zoom. To take part or for more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.