provided to the Santiva Chronicle
FISH of SANCAP is celebrating its 40th year as a “neighbors helping neighbors” organization and has impacted many lives throughout those decades. But the organization’s biggest success in 2021 was the three COVID vaccination clinics brought to the community in partnership with the Sanibel Community House, Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva, Sanibel Police Department, city officials and FISH volunteers. Hundreds of individuals received a vaccine at those clinics.
“Throughout the past 40 years, FISH has evolved dramatically both in terms of the services we provide and the people we serve,” said Board Chair Jim Metzler. “FISH provides a range of services to people from the very young to the very old. One example of our expanded services is the hundreds of vaccines FISH was able to provide, most of which went to seniors who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to be vaccinated. FISH was able to offer those vaccines by leveraging a wide set of partners and FISH volunteers.”
Last year, FISH answered 25,798 service requests and impacted the lives of 2,969 individuals. The organization reports 93 percent of every dollar spent went to programming. Additional impacts last year include:
• 5,967 visits to the Food Pantry utilizing 255,980 pounds of food
• 5,090 hot meals delivered to island neighbors by FISH volunteers
• 562 households received Holiday Food Baskets and their Adopt-a-Family Programs provided holiday gifts to 243 children
• FISH Social Services provided 847 instances of Emergency Financial Assistance
• Children received 4,294 food backpacks and 295 students received Back to School supplies
• FISH volunteers provided 5,836 hours of service and drove 22,103 miles on behalf of FISH and community members
“I strongly believe by working together as a community we will continue to provide the services which are needed by so many and help make these islands the special place they are,” said Metzler.
FISH offers more than 30 programs and services in the areas of food, education, senior and social services and helping hands financial assistance. As the organization has grown throughout the years, its scope of service has evolved and broadened with the community it serves. Anyone interested in learning more about FISH can contact Executive Director Maria Espinoza at 239-472-4775 or visit the FISH of SANCAP website.