provided to Santiva Chronicle
Although there has been movements made to begin reopening businesses through a multi-phase plan, FISH OF SANCAP understands the challenges and financial impact to our neighbors will continue for some time. Our neighbors still need your help, and FISH 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,” said Alicia Tighe, FISH Executive Director. “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 FISH and were hesitant to request assistance. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 health crisis and John’s underlying health problems, they turned to FISH to request financial assistance.
Here 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 FISH 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 FISH 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 FISH enough for helping us through all of this.
Due to ongoing construction, the FISH Walk-In Center and Food Pantry hours for the next few weeks are Saturday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Thursdays and Fridays). Anyone in need or who has questions or concerns can contact Alicia Tighe, Executive Director, at 239-472-0404 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.