provided to The Santiva Chronicle
The Sanibel-Captiva community has risen to the occasion for FISH of SanCap holiday programs with an outpouring of support. The pandemic has created extra stress for many more families this year who are trying to provide food, gifts, and a joyous time for their families and children.
This year, the community has gone above and beyond to ensure that there are holiday meals on family’s tables and toys under the tree for our youngest neighbors. FISH provided meals for over 1200 neighbors for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays combined and provided over 250 gifts for children and families
“From additional donations to our Food Pantry as well as Toy Drive, Adopt a Family and Food Basket gifts and contributions, the community really came to the rescue for our neighbors in need,” stated Maria Espinoza, Food Program Director for FISH.
The agency reports a higher than average assistance requests during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Using COVID-19 precautionary measures such as facemasks, hand sanitizing and social distancing, volunteers and staff assembled food baskets, and sorted toys at the FISH Walk-in Center. FISH volunteers delivered food and gifts by car, bike, and on foot for both Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
“Our community is the ultimate example of the FISH ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ motto,” said Executive Director Alicia Tighe. “Through natural disasters and now global pandemics, we’ve been able to keep pace with the rising demand for services all because of the tremendous generosity of islanders. This holiday season hundreds of families will be celebrating with all the food and gifts they need to end a difficult year on a positive note.”
Partners for the Holiday programs included Bailey’s General Store, Saint Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, Chase Bank and The Great White Grill all of whom donated toward the food baskets; The Ashton, Kirchner Group of Keller Williams Realty, The Great White Grill, The Sanibel-Captiva Association of Realtors, The Rauschenberg Foundation, Bat Yam Temple of the Islands, Sanibel Police Department and Toys Ahoy, all of whom donated toward the Toy Drive and Adopt a Family programs; Friends Who Care, who donated gift cards; community members who donated resources and FISH volunteers, who donated time, energy and effort.