Go FISH Celebration Raises Dollars For Our Neighbors
The 3rd annual fundraising event held at The Sanctuary Golf Club Sunday evening February 28th, was a tremendous success! FISH President & CEO, Maggi Feiner stated, “All of us at FISH are so humbled from the generosity of our community. I cannot even find the words to reflect the deep appreciation I feel toward each and every person, business and organization that contributed, from the volunteers who worked so hard, to the master sponsor donation level. Every dollar raised goes directly back to this community.”
The evening included a raffle, Island Giving opportunities and a live auction. The Island Giving opportunities allowed guests to donate toward one or more programs that FISH offers, and helped to bring awareness to the over 40 programs, services and workshops of FISH. Auctioneer Eric Pfeifer, accompanied by FISH Board Member Nicole McHale, kept the guests entertained while helping to raise both funds and, as importantly, awareness of FISH’s mission.
Live auction winners left with a private dinner at Sweet Melissa’s Café; a 6 night stay at The Red Rock Ranch in Jackson Hole, WY; a 2 night stay at The W South Beach; a boatload of wine with 4 glasses designed by Luc Century; a Great Blue Heron carving by Jim Sprankle, a 3 night stay at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn; and a limited edition of “Secrets” by Norman Rockwell. “The caliber of our auction items was at such a high level that we had many bidders for each item,” states John Pryor, FISH Board Chair. “The very special one-of-a-kind carving of the Great Blue Heron stole the show. Jim Sprankle added something special to this piece by placing a fish in the beak to represent FISH. We cannot thank Jim enough for his bigheartedness in making and donating his art work for our fundraising celebration.”
Says Maggi Feiner to the crowd, “It was once said that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’; appropriate to the Gilligan’s Island theme tonight. You, our supporters, are our tide. Our island neighbors are our boats. And, we need your help. We are all here tonight to positively impact the lives of our neighbors. Your generous support has allowed us to assist over 2000 neighbors on Sanibel & Captiva this past year. These neighbors have varying levels of need, require different types of attention and are from every walk of life. FISH is for everyone.” FISH works with seniors, residents, island workers and visitors. Feiner shared some stories of those whom FISH has helped, a few of which follow:
Martha and Bob are 92 years old and have resided on Captiva for over 40 years. Both are in failing health with no living relatives. Martha was hospitalized after a fall. Upon her release home FISH received a call from a neighbor expressing their concern as Martha was unable to take care of herself or Bob. There was little food in the home and no one to help. FISH volunteers picked up some groceries and restocked the refrigerator. Volunteers also delivered health equipment needed and we began delivering meals each day. Meanwhile, our social workers, working with Martha and Bob’s attorney, made arrangements for an in-home health care provider until a more permanent arrangement was put in place. Martha and Bob are now safe and doing well in an assisted care facility.
Frank managed a retail shop on Sanibel. He stayed there for many years, grinning through the odd hours, missing holidays with his family, and managing to get by on his small salary. Then the unimaginable happened. His store closed and he found himself unemployed. He looked back to what his lifelong passion was and decided to return to school to become an RN. He knew he couldn’t take on any more debt, so he opted for part-time education. But he struggled with the cost of tuition, books and materials, etc. He discovered FISH and their ability to provide continuing educational scholarships. Now, Frank is gainfully employed working as an RN with the Lee Memorial Health System. Frank says becoming a RN was the right choice for him. He now is better able to provide for his family and thanks FISH for helping his lifelong passion become a reality.
Kayla’s baby brother has a rare form of cancer. Her parents and siblings are devastated about his condition and wonder how they are going to handle the stress and the loss their baby boy. “Most nights,” said Kayla, “I cry myself to sleep. I know we need focus on my brother right now, but I need help too. I just don’t know what to do.” The children have missed school; the parents have missed work. FISH social workers are working closely with each member of the family, assisting with counseling for the children, making sure the mortgage and utilities are paid and assisting with the family to navigate through mounting medical bills. When the time comes FISH will also assist the family through their grief process.
Every day, the board and staff at FISH deal with many different human service circumstances. Some are referral requests, some are questions about budgeting or getting taxes done, and others are true crisis situations like those above. Without the support of the community, FISH would not be able to help neighbors like Martha and Bob, Frank or Kayla and her family. Without community support, hope for many would be lost. FISH would like to again thank everyone on Sanibel and Captiva and surrounding communities for their continued support. For additional information, event photos and sponsor recognition, please visit www.fishofsancap.org.