Helping Neighbors: F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP Helped Me Get Whole Again
When I first moved to Sanibel from the Northeast, I had always heard about FISH in our local newspapers and believed them to be an agency helping the elderly, i.e. giving rides to doctor's appointments, providing temporary medical equipment, hot lunches, etc. Boy, was I wrong! I learned firsthand that FISH is a helping agency for everyone who lives in our community from the elderly, to single parents, to youth . . . just about anyone who needs helpful resources, finding a way to improve themselves or a hand up. I became one of the later when I suddenly lost my job of fifteen years. I had a home here on the island, a successful career, a child who would soon be graduating high school, and seemingly not much to worry about. Then the economy changed, and I, like many, was laid off. When I found myself at the grocery on the weekend with not enough money to even buy a jar of peanut butter, I knew I was in desperate trouble. A friend working there immediately contacted FISH. FISH helped me purchase the $50.00 of groceries and arranged for me to meet with a social worker the next business day; no waiting weeks to get an appointment. It was then I learned the true life sustaining purpose of FISH. With help from FISH, I was to negotiate a temporary reduction in rent from my landlord to keep us in our home. FISH gave me access to their complete food pantry, helped to pay medical bills for issues my daughter was having, and assisted with utility payments to help me get back on my feet. They also assisted me with counseling, a computer, and help with job searches. They invited me to attend their enlightening seminars on stress, proper diet, personal safety, and budgeting, and offered free income tax processing. Unbelievable but true - they also provided my family with holiday meals when I hadn't the funds to or desire to participate in celebratory experiences; something both me and my daughter desperately needed for so many reasons. I am humbled to say that we needed food, help, counseling and yes, even the holidays. At that time, my family needed FISH. Now, I am on the road to self-sufficiency. My daughter, who visits often, is doing okay in college. I would not be in this place now if it wasn’t for all the help, financial and otherwise, FISH provided. FISH not only gave me a hand up, they gave me a shoulder to cry on, an ear to talk to, and a kick in the pants when I needed it. They are a wonderful helping agency that assists people in a multitude of ways; they don't just help with one thing or another. And they will help until you're back on your feet and whole again. I know I wouldn't have made it without them in my life. I will never forget all the help they gave me in my very darkest times. God bless FISH and all of its wonderful volunteers!”
For additional information on FISH and it’s over 40 different programs and services, please visit their website, fishofsancap.org, or contact their Walk-In Center at 239-472-4775.