September is Hunger Action Month, founded by Feeding America, as a time where people all over the US stand together to fight hunger, spread the word and take action on the hunger crisis. Organizations across the country, including the local community Food Pantry and social services organization FISH OF SANCAP, are participating in the month-long campaign.
From September 19-23, FISH will display information in their Walk-In Center to raise awareness about food insecurity and ways to take action. Staff and volunteers will wear orange, the chosen color of the Hunger Action awareness campaign, to show their support of hunger relief and invites community members to do the same.
In honor of Hunger Action Month, FISH is asking others to help stock their shelves. “We are so thankful for the partnerships and generous donors that help keep our Pantry stocked throughout the year,” says Maria Espinoza, Executive Director. “However, due to high demand and rising costs, we cannot seem to keep our shelves full, particularly since donations decrease from May through mid-November when ‘snowbirds’ are traveling or spending time at their northern homes.”
FISH has increased the purchase of products weekly and now must place limits on how much one family can take to ensure staples are available to all Food Pantry patrons. With the increasing cost of food, however, their budget is stretched. FISH is grateful for donations to their food programs—both monetary or products to distribute. For a list of Pantry needs, please visit the pantry page on the FISH website, https://www.fishofsancap.org/food-pantry/.
The FISH Food Pantry is a vital service for many households, and the organization receives requests for assistance daily from island residents and workers struggling to afford the skyrocketing cost of groceries. Once qualified by FISH, households are able to shop for nutritious supplemental grocery items to sustain food needs. Last year, the Pantry program distributed 255,980 pounds of food equating to 213,316 meals.
“We see many seniors making the difficult choice between buying medications or putting food on the table, as well as children asking for snacks and milk when their family cannot afford to purchase those items,” continues Espinoza. “FISH has many food, financial and educational programs to assist our neighbors in their greatest time of need. We’re here to help, and FISH has something for everyone.”
FISH has been helping island neighbors on Sanibel and Captiva for 40 years and has evolved dramatically both in terms the services they provide and the people they serve. FISH is proud that over 93% of each dollar spent goes directly to programs and services that enrich the Southwest Florida Community. In 2021, FISH answered 25,798 service requests. The organization looks forward to the next 40 years, and beyond, of serving their island neighbors thanks to the support of their community.