provided to The Santiva Chronicle
The impacts on islanders’ livelihoods due to ongoing recovery from Hurricane Ian brings continued financial and emotional strain as the holiday season approaches. FISH OF SANCAP wants to ease that strain by providing Thanksgiving Food Baskets to island residents and the workforce.
“The traditional holiday dinner we supply will hopefully bring a sense of normalcy to what has been a very abnormal 12+ months,” said FISH of SANCAP Executive Director Maria Espinoza.
Thanksgiving, a day of gratitude often shared by family and friends, may look and feel a bit different for the second consecutive holiday due to the disaster. Many survivors continue to rebuild and repair and may not be planning a traditional festive dinner. By distributing bags of stuffing, rolls, fresh and canned vegetables, pies and a gift card to purchase a turkey or other holiday protein, FISH wants to change that.
“For many that receive a basket, particularly our senior population, the realization that our organization, volunteers and community members care about them is almost secondary to the food we provide. It’s heartbreaking to learn that our neighbors will be alone or struggling for the holiday. With support and donations from the community, FISH can provide a Thanksgiving Day festive meal for many that we serve,” continues Espinoza.
FISH supporters are already dropping off donations and financial contributions to support the holiday basket. FISH is currently accepting Thanksgiving food donations through Nov. 15 at the FISH food pantry, 2430 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. Community partner Sanibel Captiva Community Bank is holding a drive through the end of October and Doc Ford’s will begin a drive Nov. 1-15. Items in need include canned fruits and vegetables and side dishes such as stuffing, rice, gravy, cranberries (canned), etc.
Last year, because the Thanksgiving holiday was on the heels of Ian’s landfall, the FISH meal basket offering included a pre-cooked meal. This year, as many once again have cooking and heating sources, the organization is returning to their traditional holiday basket. Basket distribution will take place at FISH on Sanibel until 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20 and Tuesday, Nov. 21, with last minute pickup available until noon on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
“We are pleased that we can provide this program to those needing assistance during the holidays. With such uncertainty in the air, it warms my heart to know that we can help,” says Espinoza.
If you or a family you know is in need of a Thanksgiving Holiday Food Basket, please contact Merari at FISH at 239-472-4775 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about FISH, please visit their website and social media pages to see firsthand how the agency works to better the community and particularly their response to the Ian disaster. To learn more about hurricane recovery and other services of FISH, please contact Maria Espinoza, Executive Director, at (239) 472-4775.