• Maggie Goldsmith

Helping Neighbors: F.I.S.H. and Charitable Foundation of the Islands Collaborate to Help Island Neig

Through a one year grant awarded to FISH OF SANCAP by CFI, FISH is able to help island neighbors through their Helping Hands Program. The Helping Hands Program provides limited financial assistance for island residents and workers when they have fallen upon hard times. “CFI is a dedicated partner that helps us provide assistance beyond what the resources of FISH can provide alone. Our partnership is a vital link between FISH and those we serve,” says Maggi Feiner, President & CEO. “Without the strong, caring partnership between FISH and CFI, our island neighbors may not have been able to feed their families, may have lost their homes and may have struggled in other ways. We are very grateful to have received this grant, as it is used to bridge the gap for many families on the islands.” Partnering with CFI has made a difference in the lives of our island neighbors, as described in the following case studies:

  • Case involved a family of four, two adults and two small children: Both adults, Michael and Amelie, work on Sanibel and participate in the FISH Food Pantry Program, Holiday Basket Program and School Supplies Program. The children attend the Sanibel School. Amelie began experiencing dizziness, stomach aches, headaches and nausea for a period of time before she was able to visit her doctor. After a numerous tests, it was discovered that she had a tumor on her left ovary. Ovarian cancer is common in her family, and it was recommended that both ovaries be removed to prevent future problems. Fortunately, no cancer was found during the surgery. Post-surgery, it was recommended that Amelie recuperate for approximately one month before returning to work. Her husband, Michael was the family’s sole source of income. They used their savings to pay deductibles and other portions of the $32,000.00 hospital bill and were unable to pay normal, day to day expenses such as rent, utilities, other medical bills, grocery expenses, etc. With CFI funding, FISH was able to assist with rent, utility and medical expenses. Both Amelie and Michael expressed their sincere gratitude for the assistance received, which allowed Amelie to become well again and kept them on track with living expenses. Amelie is now back to work, and FISH referred them to the hospital’s financial assistance program to arrange for payments on the remaining balance.

  • Case involved a family of four, one adult and three children: Tracy works Sanibel in the hospitality industry and participates in the FISH Food Pantry Program. As a recent graduate of a nursing assistant program, she is hoping to work at Lee Memorial Hospital to create a more balanced life for herself and her children. Currently, however, Tracy mainly works afternoon and evenings, as her youngest son suffers from Autism and needs therapeutic sessions several times a week. Her income has been reduced due to the ‘off-season’, she suffered injuries in a car accident and the unexpected death of her brother resulted in funeral expenses that drained her small savings account. With CFI funding, FISH was able to assist with rent. Tracy also participated in the FISH School Supplies Program and continues to use the Food Pantry Program to help offset expenses.

Based on need and eligibility, financial assistance through the CFI grant may be available as determined by FISH. Assistance is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and amounts vary depending upon financial status. Available funding is limited, and assistance may cover only a portion expenses. To learn more and to see if you qualify, please contact Kathy Y. Monroe or Nitza Lopez at 239-472-4775.

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