F.I.S.H. of Santa Rosa A Food Pantry For All
NEWSLETTER - FEBRUARY 2018
Dear Friends of F.I.S.H.
"As fire victims who lost everything, we so appreciated the turkey we got at Thanksgiving and the ham we received at Christmas…This is a new journey and we are thankful for your help.” This lovely note of appreciation came from our long-time supporters, Barney and Joanne.
Your support made a critical difference in the lives of our neighbors in a time of unprecedented need. We received many donations of both food and money to serve our community after the fires. And we continued to be a vitally needed food source for our ‘regular‘ clients.
In 2017 we served 57,169 people in 15,609 households. We distributed approximately 700,000 pounds of food. On an average day we receive 50 to 70 requests for food and serve 200 to 250 clients. Because we purchase food from Redwood Empire Food Bank, every $1.00 spent equals $4.00 of purchasing power. In addition to Redwood Empire Food Bank, we continue to gather and distribute donated food from local merchants.
We held a successful Holiday Meat Program after the fires. Thanks to many generous donors, we gave every client a Thanksgiving turkey and a Christmas turkey or ham, their choice. Everyone expressed enormous gratitude.
In January, Roseland Collegiate Prep. Students held a food drive for F.I.S.H. collecting 614 pounds of food and almost $500.00 in cash donations. And First United Methodist Church delivered over 500 pounds of food from their own drive.
Back at the food pantry, we continue to look for volunteers, so give us a call if you can spare a little time to help our community.
The New Year brings changes to our leadership. We applaud Dennis Hansen, our Deputy Director, who is stepping down from his post of eighteen Years. Dennis has worked tirelessly for F.I.S.H. over the years. Shirley Norton, another enthusiastic volunteer and Board member is also retiring. Hats off to you both.
F.I.S.H. Tax Identification #51-0159551
NEWSLETTER – JULY 2017
Dear Friends of F.I.S.H.,
It is with great pleasure that I assume the position of Executive Director of F.I.S.H. of Santa Rosa. I have long been committed to alleviating hunger in this abundant county where we live. Here at F.I.S.H. our group of volunteers strives daily to serve those in need with wholesome groceries. Each client is treated with dignity and respect and the hope that we can help them cope with their situation. We serve families, seniors, disabled, unemployed, working neighbors and the homeless. No questions are asked and there are no forms to fill out. The only qualification is the need for food. F.I.S.H. is a non-profit 501c3 organization operated entirely by volunteers and 100% dependent on donations of food and money. We are always in need of volunteers...come and join our team! Your interest in, and support of F.I.S.H. is greatly appreciated as we continue to serve all of Sonoma County.
During the first half of 2017, the number of people provided with free food was very similar to that of 2016. We served a total of 28,685 people in 7,800 households during the first 6 months of 2017. The number of children served was 10,551. We continue to see an increase in the number of seniors coming to F.I.S.H. During this same period during 2016, we saw an increase in seniors of 13% compared to the year before, while during 2017 we saw another increase of 12%.
Starting in 2016 and continuing during 2017, we have made a concerted effort to increase the amount of protein based foods we provide to every household. These items include eggs and canned tuna in addition to meats and other items.
Helping in this effort, we have received three Grants from community based organizations during the first six months of 2017. We received a Grant from the Santa Rosa Rotary Club Foundation of $1,500. With this Grant alone, we were able to purchase 1,248 cans of tuna and 3,600 cans of soup. Yes, that number is correct. The soup was purchased from our partner, the Redwood Empire Food Bank at very low cost. We also received a
$2,000 Grant from Bank of America Charitable Foundation. We recently received a Julia L. Grant Basic Human Needs Grant of $9,000 from Community Foundation, Sonoma County, an organization that has helped support
F.I.S.H. for a number of years. We are very grateful to all of these organizations for their help in feeding the hungry in Sonoma County.
The annual U.S. Postal Carriers food drive was held this past May. You will recall that we receive all of the food collected by Carriers working out of the McBride Annex in Santa Rosa. Last year we reported that we received a total of 8,848 pound of food, one of the lowest totals in memory. We are pleased to advise that this year's total increased to a little more than 14,000 pounds of food, a more than 60% increase. Needless to say, we were very pleased and thankful to the Carriers for their effort.
F.I.S.H. Board of Directors
Kaarin Lee, Executive Director
F.I.S.H. of Santa Rosa is an independent all-volunteer non-profit serving Sonoma County since 1972
NEWSLETTER - OCTOBER 2017
Dear Friends of F.I.S.H.
Fall — the season of crisp mornings and evenings with milder temperatures in the afternoons — brings the coming holidays to mind. As our thoughts turn to home and hearth, we feel enormous gratitude for the support of our F.I.S.H. community.
First and foremost we appreciate the many volunteers who work tirelessly to help feed our neighbors. From the drivers who pick up the donations from our generous merchants — Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, Target, Grocery Outlet Big Lots and more — to the receiving room volunteers who sort and organize the incoming groceries, to the baggers who pack the food to the door people who dispense the food, to the dispatchers who take calls from clients, every volunteer arrives with a smile, eager to make the lives of our clients a little easier. Many donors of fresh produce help us to maintain our standards by providing wholesome food to our clients. These indispensible volunteers embody the compassion and community that makes F.I.S.H. possible.
Our monetary donors are angels who put wind in our wings. Their donations of money help us purchase food from Redwood Empire Food Bank at reduced cost. Some folks designate their contributions to help us pay the rent each month, keeping a roof over our heads.
We thank the group of neighborhood women who started a grass roots campaign, Benton Street Improvement Association. They produced yard signs to promote tolerance and inclusion, inspired messages to lift us. They sold the signs and donated all proceeds to F.I.S.H. of Santa Rosa.
The Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s Annual Pasta Dinner raises funds for F.I.S.H. and it has become our single largest fundraising event. Many members of the congregation work hard to create a lively auction and dinner; they sell out each year.
We are inspired by Sara Bens, a young member of our community who wanted to do something to alleviate hunger. She searched our website http://www.fish-of-santa-rosa.org and found our wish list of groceries. Then she gathered 30 pounds of food and went to Safeway where she purchased another $100 of staples.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and myself, we thank YOU, our loyal supporters who make it possible for us to serve 5,000 people each month, half of them children. Your continued support has allowed us to initiate a home delivery program for seniors and handicapped neighbors.