Helping Neighbors: Community Collaborations Add to F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP Holiday Food Basket Program
For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time of plenty. But for those who worry about providing food for the festive occasion, the holiday can be stressful. The annual holiday food basket program by F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP helps to make the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays a bit more joyous for our neighbors.
"My hours have been cut since June and even though I am working two jobs, my family needs a little bit of help this year during the holiday season," Marney said. "Hopefully as season picks up my hours and paychecks will be become more stable. It’s humbling to admit we need some help, but with soaring grocery prices, three kids and rent that increases year-to-year, we just do."
Marney’s is one of many households who will cook a Thanksgiving meal this holiday thanks to FISH. While shelters and churches around the county serve hot meals, the FISH Thanksgiving Basket, with some items donated and others purchased with funds designated to the program, will allow families to celebrate in their own homes.
“The baskets help to celebrate the season, said Jessi Zeigler, M.S.W., Program Director at FISH. "We can’t thank the community enough for donating toward this program," Zeigler continues. "For our older population, those that no longer have family or loved ones close by, we provide a restaurant gift certificate for a holiday meal. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to make the holidays brighter.”
Fresh, delicious pies, tirelessly baked and generously donated by The Episcopal Church Woman, will be added to the baskets again this year. “The Episcopal Church Woman have always supported this program by adding a loving, homemade touch toward its success,” states Zeigler. “Everyone raves about the pies, cannot believe the generous amount of time and energy that goes into making their basket extra special.”
New this year, will be the addition of ‘Sanibel Harvest Bread’, at the suggestion of Salli Kirkland. Says Kirkland, “This Banana-Mango bread idea came about as some long time island residents, who are Sanibel Community Association (SCA) supporters, had a surplus of these island grown fruits. They wanted to donate them for a good cause, but unfortunately the SCA community kitchen is not yet available. The Community Church came to the rescue and offered the use of their facility. SCA kitchen guild volunteers, Susan Bellevue, Nancy Black and myself offered to assist with the baking.” She continues, “Jarred Harris, the newly announced resident chef of SCA’s Culinary Education Center, was delighted to volunteer his services in leading the team of local volunteers. He modified his favorite banana bread recipe to include mango and created this special ‘Sanibel Harvest Bread.’ The recipe (in small batch amount) will be attached to the bread. The Sanibel School 4th Grade Mrs. Wappas class wrote cards and made decorations for the baskets, to wish everyone a happy holiday. Between generous donors, The Episcopal Church Woman, SCA members, The Sanibel Community Church, SCA Chef Jarred, The Sanibel School 4th graders and community volunteers, this is truly a community collaboration in support of FISH!
Thanks to FISH Volunteers, baskets of canned food, stuffing, rolls, fresh and canned vegetables, pies and bread were assembled and distributed just in time for the holiday.
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.