Helping Neighbors: F.I.S.H. Celebrates 10 years of the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H.!
In 2009, FISH OF SANCAP held the first “10K Race 4 F.I.S.H.” fundraiser for the 501 (c)(3) organization, founded 36 years ago based on “neighbors helping neighbors.” The idea was introduced in 2008 by then Board Member Joel Soobitsky, however a severe thunderstorm forced the cancellation on that first race day as runners stood by hoping the storm would pass. Since that inaugural year, subsequent races have been very successful. Details are now fine-tuned, a special ‘Hortoons’ logo is designed each year, and the race has become an annual major fundraiser for FISH. The event utilizes the help of the City of Sanibel, Fort Myers Track Club, many volunteers and the financial support of multiple sponsors. Runners are local or regional, come from around the state, other parts of the country and even from other countries. Celebrating his 100th race, Mr. Tom Kelly will run the 10K this year. Says Tom, “I’ve done the FISH 10K several times, and I’m always impressed with how well FISH and the Fort Myers Track Club organize all the details and how enthusiastically the volunteers cheer for all the runners. To a runner, this is so appreciated because it makes the race so much more fun. Of course, the main reason I enjoy it so much is because of the cause it supports. FISH is a major help to so many people in need, and it's a satisfying feeling knowing I’m helping in a small way by participating in the 10K.”
Each year the number of people attending the event and the support from sponsors has grown. The manager of the largest resort on Sanibel noted that, “It’s not just FISH who benefits from this, but the community as a whole.” The 10K race has brought island visitors to hotels, restaurants and shops at a time of year when Sanibel is usually very quiet. This year’s 10K Race Committee includes Ed Ridlehoover as Chair; Pete Bender as Co-Chair; Diane Cortese as Sponsor Co-Chair; John Pryor as Finance Chair; Paul Gulbrandsen as Volunteer Chair; George Campean as Goodie Bag Chair; JeAnne Hertel from the Fort Myers Track Club; and Shannen Hayes for PR.
Most may not realize that there are many individuals living and/or working on Sanibel and Captiva who need assistance. FISH is a ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ nonprofit, founded 36 years ago and is supported by donations and volunteers. The organization has now grown to the extent that many families working in the service industries, children and seniors comprise their 3,959 clients in 1,863 households. FISH offers food from their pantry, counseling, community resource referrals, emergency financial assistance for unexpected medical, rent, utility and other expenses, and more. FISH provides scholarships for children to attend summer, specialty and after school programs and now fills more than 1,000 backpacks yearly with weekend food for qualified households living and/or working on Sanibel and Captiva with school-age children from Pre-K through 12th grade.
The FISH Walk-in Center is open Mon. – Fri. from 10 a.m. until 3:45 p.m., with appointments available for other times. For additional information on FISH and its programs and services, please visit their website, www.fishofsancap.org, or contact their Walk-In Center at 239-472-4775.