Partnerships Aid Hurricane Survivors

FISH OF SANCAP, with the United Way Gifts-in-Kind Program, continues to distribute furniture and rebuilding supplies through their Hurricane Ian Point of Distribution Program (POD). The program is available to Sanibel and Captiva Island residents and workforce.

Tom and Sue Bridges, island residents for nearly 50 years, have used the POD program. Says Sue,” My husband and I would like to thank all of you, especially since nasty Ian took all our appliances and a lot of our furniture, destroying it beyond repair.” The names of the individuals have been changed for privacy.

“Your Friday “give-away” days have really blessed us!  We now have sturdy chairs upon which we can sit to take breaks. We also now have a dishwasher again and a sink inside the house as well,” continues Sue. The Bridges have visited FISH distribution days on a few occasions as they continue to put their house back together. “Thanks to FISH, I once again have a lovely stand to display some of my decorations that miraculously survived surge waters.  Seeing that beautiful stand makes me smile every day!”

“We especially want to thank you for connecting us with the person who had some extra drywall – whole sheets as well as cut off pieces,” notes Sue. “FISH organized the pick-up date and time along with some really strong, young volunteers to help with the loading and unloading.  Everything went very smoothly and efficiently – and my husband didn’t have to lift a thing! The drywall materials will be a big help in restoring our bedroom and in stretching our budget. My husband already made quick use of a cut-off piece that was exactly the size he needed to fill in that last ceiling spot of smaller room. He is doubly grateful for that!”

In addition to the POD furnishings and drywall, the Bridges have used the food pantry to help supplement their grocery needs. “My husband stopped by the food pantry a few times and discovered new foods he now just has to have – the bag of potato soup mix his absolute favorite!”

Furnishings, generously donated through the United Way Gifts-in-Kind program, along with doors, windows, cabinetry, linens, microwaves and more are available to those in need on the islands. Recipients must either be residents of Sanibel or Captiva or show proof of island employment. Distribution days take place twice monthly on Fridays from 9:00a-11:00a at the FISH building located at 2430 Periwinkle Way. Please bring a vehicle large enough to fit desired item(s), and some extra hands to lift items. The dates for distribution in Sept. are the 15th and the 29th.

“We are pleased to partner with United Way to offer this valuable program to our community members,” says Manuela Martinez, Disaster Administrative Director. “So many residents and members of our workforce have benefited from this program and are thankful for the assistance.”

Since landfall, FISH has been assisting islanders and the workforce with disaster recovery. Now the agency is working toward reducing the burden and hardship caused by Hurricane Ian by ensuring support is available. FISH has coordinated resources with local and state organizations, and is providing assistance with emergency supply distribution, financial assistance, case management, and distribution of rebuild supplies.

In addition to Long Term Recovery Services, FISH continues with their programs representing their four major pillars – Food, Island Based Education, Social and Senior Services, and Helping Hands.  The organization continues to roll out and expand their traditional programs while simultaneously offering Long Term Recovery Services to community members, many of which have never had to ask for assistance before.