FISH of Sanibel-Captiva encourages those leaving for the season to donate unopened goods like perishable and non-perishable food, personal hygiene products and household cleaning items.
The FISH Food Pantry serves island residents and workers in need of assistance, and FISH purchases produce each week and places limits on how much a family can take out to ensure the basics are available to all users. However, with the rising cost of food, FISH’s budget is strained.
“We are seeing firsthand how inflation is affecting our pantry program as now, more than ever before, our neighbors are making tough choices between putting food on the table or filling their gas tank,” said executive director Maria Espinoza.
FISH explained that many food users have reported fearing the next sluggish months when working hours will be reduced and children will be out of school, necessitating extra meals at home.
While many donate or hold food drives, FISH also receives products in partnership with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank, Sanibel Farmers Market, Bailey’s and Jerry’s Foods.
“We are so grateful for the partnerships and generous donors who help keep our pantry stocked,” she says. “Due to high demand, however, we are still experiencing difficulty keeping our shelves full, particularly during the summer months when working hours are reduced for our users and donations dwindle as snowbirds come in. head north.
FISH reported that although the food pantry has been stretched for space with the increased need for services and the expansion of programs, such as the kids’ backpack program which includes child-friendly products and a fresh meal item, it has continued to keep pace during the pandemic.
“This is a particularly difficult time for our neighbors for many reasons – the pandemic, inflation, the cost of gas and supply shortages – and we are not off the hook just yet,” said Espinosa. “We also see many of our seniors having to make the difficult choice between buying their medicine and putting food on the table. FISH offers many food, financial and educational programs to help our neighbors in their most difficult times. We’re here to help, and FISH has something for everyone.
For a list of pantry needs, visit https://www.fishofsancap.org/food-pantry/.