Meals-by-F.I.S.H. Returns

As the aftermath of Hurricane Ian continues to change shape, FISH OF SANCAP is working tirelessly to ensure they continue to support the community in this time of crisis. While FISH has not been able run their traditional food programs at full speed, the organization is working on re-establishing the Meals-by-FISH program by the middle to end of February, in addition to continuing immediate hurricane response services. Over the last few years, the Meals program doubled in size, mainly due to the COVID crisis, and now, in the wake of Hurricane Ian, proves to be a critical resource for islanders as many grocery stores and restaurants remain closed to work on repairs.

The Meals-by-FISH program delivers one hot, nutritious meal per day, up to 5 days/week, including extras for the weekend to island neighbors. Originally facilitated in partnership with Bailey’s General Store, the program meals will now be provided by Jerry’s Foods as Bailey’s continues repairs to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Ian. 

“As an essential service provider, we are pleased to get this critical food program back up and running and thankful to Jerry’s for partnering with us to make that happen,” states Maria Espinoza, Executive Director.  “Our delivery volunteers are excited to begin picking up and delivering meals once again and are looking forward to seeing some familiar faces,” added Erika Broyles, Senior Services Director, who manages the Meals program.

Beginning mid to late February, Jerry’s Deli managers and team members will prepare the Meals-by-FISH menu, while their staff sorts, bags and labels each meal on a daily basis.  Each meal consists of a protein, starch and vegetable and runs on a two week set menu cycle. Meals may include stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes and vegetables, breaded Cod with mac and cheese and coleslaw, BBQ pork ribs with coleslaw and baked beans, and more.  Menus are subject to change based on availability and can be slightly modified to accommodate those with diabetes or other health conditions.

This service is provided to anyone currently living on Sanibel or Captiva who requests meals. In the past, many participants were older individuals who no longer cook; some were younger singles recovering from an illness or injury. “We expect our demographic may change a little, due to the hurricane, to include those who still don’t have power or the ability to cook at home,” continues Broyles. 

Individuals may receive meals for any length of time and may opt in/out of the program as needed.  Meals are picked up at 11:30 a.m., and delivery time varies depending on traffic and number of deliveries.  Generally, meals are delivered approximately one hour after pick up.

All meals are subsidized and FISH charges $10.00 per meal for self-paying individuals, including delivery by volunteers.  While many pay for the cost of the meal themselves, others cannot afford to do so.  On a case-by-case basis, FISH may subsidize a larger part or the entire cost of the meal, depending on the household situation.