FISH, St. Michael’s Collaborate on The Gathering Place offerings

As part of their Long Term Recovery Program FISH OF SANCAP will offer services in partnership with St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, SalusCare, Project H.O.P.E. and others at the newly renovated space called The Gathering Place, formerly Noah’s Ark.

FISH services at The Gathering Place will be offered on Mon., Wed., and Fri. from 10:00a-4:00p beginning July 24. Each Monday, Social Services Director Nitza Lopez will be available to discuss disaster relief, including disaster financial assistance, youth scholarships, emergency financial assistance and more.

On Wednesdays, Senior Services Director Erika Boyles will be on-site discussing senior needs and hosting mental health services with our community partner SalusCare. Beginning August 2, FISH will provide group therapy focusing on hurricane related topics including PTSD, trauma, and loss. Laura Guarino, MA, LMHC, CBHCMS, will lead the group from 11:00a-12:30p and remain on-sire until 2p for anyone who would like a mini 1:1 session with her. Project H.O.P.E. will also be available from 1:00p-3:00 offering craft therapy and open discussions on post storm trauma, including mental exhaustion, decision-making, financial fears, etc.

“It’s an honor to be a part of The Gathering Place and offer services to our community in a ‘resiliency hub’ type collaboration,” says Maria Espinoza, Executive Director, FISH. “Having a designated space on the islands to meet face-to-face with community members will allow us to provide help when and where it’s needed most.” The FISH organization notes their special thanks to Sue Van Oss, Director of Digital Communications & Christian Formation, St. Michael’s whose vision and leadership was instrumental in getting the space ready for the community and service providers.

The Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on Friday, July 21 and FISH offerings began July 24. When visiting The Gathering Place, please enter off Dunlop Road and park in the back outside the fenced-in area. 

FISH has been a ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ organization on Sanibel and Captiva for 40 years and has evolved dramatically both in terms the services they provide and the people they serve. As a social service organization, FISH has been ground zero

for catastrophic Hurricane Ian, offering services to those in need. FISH prides itself on the network of resources they develop and maintain to ensure they are offering the services needed for their diverse constituency.  In addition to their Long Term Recovery program, FISH continues to offer programs representing their four major pillars – Food, Island Based Education, Social and Senior Services, and Helping Hands. 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.

SalusCare is the most comprehensive provider of behavioral healthcare services in Southwest Florida, incorporated in 2013 after the merger of Lee Mental Health and Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS). Today, SalusCare employs more than 350 professionals who provide hope and recovery to nearly 16,000 adults and children in outpatient psychiatry and therapy, residential programs, recovery residences, emergency/crisis services, detox and community-based services from multiple locations in Lee County. No one will ever be denied access to services due to an inability to pay. A sliding-fee scale is utilized for many services based on family size and income.  SalusCare is also a proud National Health Service Corps site. For more information, visit

Project Hope is a Crisis Counseling Assistance Program funded by FEMA and SAMHSA. The mission of the Project is to assist individuals and communities in recovering from the aftereffects of natural and human-caused disasters through community-based outreach and educational resources. It is designed to add to and strengthen programs already existing in our community by promoting recovery, adaptability, and empowerment. For more information, visit