FISH OF SANCAP – The Importance of Helping Others

FISH OF SANCAP, Sanibel and Captiva Islands social service organization, has been working around the clock since Hurricane Ian devastated the islands.  The outpouring of support from local partner agencies, national crisis groups, volunteers and donors from across the nation is unprecedented, and the agency cannot thank everyone enough for the continued support.  “The road to recovery for our islands is going to be lengthy, but we’re so grateful to everyone for their support that allows us to continue our work,” said Maria Espinoza, Executive Director.  

Through financial donations, grant awards and in-kind product donations, FISH is able to continue providing assistance of all kinds to community members most affected by the wrath of Hurricane Ian. Many continue to struggle with the cost of living, particularly those whose homes are uninhabitable on the islands and who had to find temporary housing until repairs or rebuilds are complete.  Numerous individuals are reaching to FISH for disaster related financial assistance, many of which have never had to ask for assistance before.

Ellen Smith, whose name has been changed for client privacy, recently connected with Nitza Lopez, Social Services Director at FISH, to discuss options for disaster recovery.  Said Ellen, “As a person who is usually on the giving side, it has been difficult for me to reach out for help. Your effortless process made it much easier.”

Ellen shared that throughout most of her life she has been aware of the importance of helping others with food or housing insecurities. Before relocating to Sanibel, she worked in large cities, often dropping off food and items weekly to various locations where homeless individuals had set up camps. Once her family moved to Sanibel, she and her children worked on projects for FISH and participated in food drives and collections for the agency’s Food Pantry.

“I now find myself on the other side of your goodwill, and it’s humbling,” continues Ellen.  “I cannot find the words to express my gratitude for you and the FISH organization, particularly during my family’s difficult time. Thank you so much for making a challenging time, a little easier; your generosity brought a tear to my eye.”

FISH continues to work with Ellen and her family to ensure they have enough food, supplies and bedding for the unseasonably cold weather SWFL has been experiencing. And, Ellen continues to believe in the importance of helping others, noting she cannot wait to get back to a sense of normalcy. “Once we get back on our feet, we will continue to support FISH in any way we can so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have needs,” she said.

For those interested in learning 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.