Bringing Comfort & Joy to our Neighbors in Need
Dear Friends of FISH,
With the fundraising help of many spirited bell ringers and local food drive organizers, FISH is able to provide Holiday Baskets for 550 Sonoma Valley families each December. Filled with fresh produce, eggs, bread, cheese, non-perishable staples, and a dessert, these baskets also include a gift card so that the family can purchase meat, poultry, or fish to round out their holiday meals. This Friday and Saturday, teams led by our Food Basket volunteer coordinators Hewitt and Linda Jackson will be hard at work packing and distributing the boxes at the Hanna Boys Center auditorium. Thank you to the many friends of FISH who make this program happen each year!

Read on for more updates from FISH...
FISH Recognized for Pandemic Work with Catalyst Award
In October, FISH was honored with a Catalyst Award as one of the local community organizations "who have courageously and persistently responded to the ever-changing needs of those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic." FISH was highlighted for distributing more than $910,000 in rental and utilities assistance to 1,156 Sonoma Valley families during the pandemic -- all by volunteers!
FISH Tales
by Beverly Koepplin

I had a big party – my sister and her husband’s 50th anniversary celebration – to attend. I went out and bought an outfit, had my nails done, and my hair cut and colored, was exposed to (breakthrough) COVID, and tested positive – wait, that last part wasn’t in my plans. I dutifully notified everyone who might have been exposed (they all tested negative) and then sat back in isolation waiting for time to move faster. I already knew I wasn’t going to go to this once-in-a-lifetime party and had made my peace with it. There are people with much worse problems . . .or so I kept telling myself.

And then the house next door exploded and burned to the ground. Things got a little dicey, but the fire department got the fire out before my home could burn down. My house only sustained minor damage, but because it was not habitable, I had to move out for four days. With COVID on board, I knew it would be hard to find a place to live. One of my friends who had been exposed to me and tested negative kindly offered me her hospitality.

Five days after the fire, I came back home. Glorious home. My house and my cat and I had a wonderful reunion. Life is slowly returning to normal.

I think about those days when I was ill and then displaced. My mind keeps coming back to how much worse it all could have been and how many people do not have the resources I did to cope with such a wretched time in life. They have little or no money, no food, no home, no insurance, no medical help if needed, and often they do not have the support of their family, friends, neighbors, and community.

These people sometimes call on FISH for help. I have heard their sad stories and listened to them cry because they are “begging” for food. Because I am fortunate enough to be a coordinator, I have many FISH duties to keep up with, and doing them was a saving grace for me. I was giving, and it felt so good. My heart danced again, and I could finally sing “Hallelujah.”

What does a FISH volunteer with COVID do? What does she do when she has to leave her home? She gives, and gives, and gives until all of the happiness she has given comes back to her!

Try it yourself – it works.
What we can accomplish together is amazing!
With your support, in the first 10 months of 2021 FISH has:
  • Provided nutritious food for 700 households including 2,650 family members

  • Delivered more than 550 boxes of healthy food to housebound families

  • Helped 310 families with rental assistance and 144 families with utility bills

  • Provided more than 370 rides to medical appointments

  • Provided 580 paratransit or bus tickets and 1500 gallons of gasoline

  • Spent 1,500 hours on the phone providing services while listening with an empathetic ear in both English and Spanish.

Add in the many community members served by our Clothes Closet, our medical equipment loan program, and other services, and these figures provide a sense of what a busy year it has been for FISH! These numbers shown are through October... and much more is happening as the year comes to a close, including our Holiday Food Basket program.

To all of the many FISH donors and volunteers who continue to make this work possible . . . thank you!
Our Mission Statement:
FISH of Sonoma Valley lends a helping hand to our neighbors in need
by providing critical safety net services.
P.O. Box 507, Sonoma CA 95476-0507