Pine Island FISH “Swimming Against the Tide”

The recent article in The News Press on “Big-bucks fundraisers hit by tough times, too” was no news to this small organization.

Pine Island FISH, Inc. (Fellow Islanders Sending Help) was established in 1987 as an all volunteer, community based, non-profit organization serving the residents of the Pine Island/Matlacha areas. All of our current 70 volunteers operate out of their homes and are not paid for their time or transportation services.

We offer assistance in the following areas: non-emergency transportation to doctors, grocery stores and banks; emergency financial assistance for housing, utilities and medical expenses; loan of mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and other items; respite services for non-paid care givers and in-touch services for the homebound. There is never a charge for our services. In addition to these services, we have established 4 Basket Brigades throughout the year to support singles, seniors and families with children: Easter, Back to School Clothes for Kids, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The difficulties created by the current economy are illustrated by the increase in our emergency financial assistance. In the last 2 years, our clients have increased more than 16% in numbers while at the same time our donations have decreased by 35%. Another example is in our School Clothes for Kids Basket Brigade where we served 88 children in 2008 and 174 children in 2010. This was almost a 200% increase over the 2 year period; however, donations for this year’s Brigade covered only 50% of the amount that we spent on the program.

While we have been able to meet the needs of many clients so far this year, we have had to dip into our limited savings. We cannot thank everyone enough for the support that we have received but would ask that you might consider maintaining, or if possible, increasing your donations to us in the coming months. With this support, we can continue to meet the needs of the people in the greater Pine Island area.

Any donations are greatly appreciated and can be mailed to:
Pine Island FISH, Inc., P.O. Box 357, Matlacha, FL, 33993.

Dianne Higgins, President