Helping Neighbors: The Volunteers of F.I.S.H.
Roger Theis first experienced volunteering at a young age, when he helped with the sailing camp program in Maryland. “I realized I could make a difference in the lives of so many kids in the community where I lived,” says Roger. Within a few years, he began as a sailing instructor. He’s also served as an ambassador at his church, where he would work with kids in the youth program, and with the Boy Scouts. He’s been part of a group that beautified Lover’s Key park, worked with the Children’s Network and with Harry Chapin Food Bank. It’s safe to say, Roger is hooked on volunteering. When asked his favorite part of volunteering, Roger responds, “I love knowing that whatever time I have can be used to help another.” Since moving to Southwest Florida, Roger has been involved in many nonprofit organizations. His involvement grew when, as an employee of Bailey’s General Store, he noticed the donation bin for F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP. Talking with Richard and Mead Johnson, Bailey’s owners, Roger discovered the many campaigns that Bailey’s ran on an annual basis to benefit FISH – the food bin, the ‘Throw FISH a Lifeline’ campaign, the food preparation for Meals-by-F.I.S.H., to name a few. Roger visited FISH and, well the rest is history in the making. He’s now been a volunteer for over 15 months, helping out in the food pantry, with equipment and wherever else within the FISH organization he feels he can make a difference. When Roger sees a need, he fills it.
“When I realized that any amount of time, whether it be 15 minutes or two hours, can make such a huge difference, I jumped right it,” says Roger. “It becomes a commitment I look forward to each week. Being as active as possible in giving back to the community where you live or work speaks to my heart, it makes be alive. How could anyone not love this?” His wife, Connie, also active in volunteering, concurs. “He’s like a volunteer machine, always making time for things that are important to him. Roger believes we are all stewards of our time, money and talents. And if he can find a place to share those things, he will. I guess he doesn’t really do well with ‘idle time’. He’d rather be doing something meaningful that helps another get through life.”
His passion for volunteering doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon. He’s currently working on getting others he works with involved in volunteering as well. Why? “So more people will know about and support these wonderful organizations that are so committed to doing good things,” says Roger.
“It is so rewarding to know that I made a difference in someone's life,” says Roger. “The little bit of time that I took to do something meant making small deposits in the lives of many others who may have had no one reach out to them that day.”
FISH has many volunteer opportunities throughout the year. To learn more about volunteering with F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP, please contact Lyn Kern, Office & Volunteer Manager or Joi Dupler, Agency Assistant at FISH 239-472-4775.