Perhaps you have spent an afternoon sifting through all of the fun treasures at the FISH thrift store, or maybe you have taken your coffee table that you no longer use or the pile of skinny jeans from high school that you swore you would fit into again to be donated and resold, but have you ever looked farther than that at FISH? What other programs do they offer, what else is it that they do? After my time with Executive Director Sherry Smith I can tell you that they do so much more than I realized.
During Sherry’s two years as the Executive Director of FISH (which stands for Friends in Service Helping) there have been a variety of changes to existing programs that the organization offers as well as some new programs started. FISH serves all of Elko County and surrounding areas. They generate income through their thrift store, grant funds, and donations from generous donors in the community. These funds help to assist the organization in being able to provide programs like emergency food, soup kitchen, laundry services, holiday meal program, Samaritan house, showers and hygiene supplies, stranded travelers aid, U.S.D.A. Commodity distribution, senior food box program, emergency clothing vouchers, medical/prescription assistance, and employment required needs assistance. As you can see from this list the work they do is helping families in Elko County that are in crisis fill their immediate needs and create a plan for the long term so that they can become self-sufficient in the future.
The soup kitchen at FISH is open four days a week for hot meals. They also provide food to families and individuals through the emergency food box program, and U.S.D.A. commodities program. In 2017 FISH had 11,639 requests for food assistance. During their holiday food box program alone they gave out 260 food boxes. All of this work makes sure that families in our community will not go hungry and that they will have the energy they need to work at their jobs, or do well in school. Recently FISH has started to have Farmers Markets monthly for their clients. This is an opportunity for those in need to go and get fresh fruits and vegetables. This is open to all clients of FISH.
The holiday food box and gift program for children/seniors provides a way for children, seniors, and those with disabilities have a full holiday with food to eat and gifts to open. This program starts in October when families can make requests for a holiday box, and the holiday gift program. The holiday food box program served 260 families last year. It is through the generosity of community members adopting families that FISH was able to serve 113 families for the gift program for families in need last year. They also work together with other organizations in the community to make sure that there is not duplication in recipients.
The Samaritan House Emergency Shelter is open Monday-Sunday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am. They provide and evening meal and breakfast to those that stay at the house. It provides a place for families
or individuals to come out of the elements with the knowledge that they will have a safe place to rest for the night. The Samaritan House is a clean and sober safe home. They will only accept people to stay at the house that are not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs.
FISH has also partnered with government agencies to provide a venue and opportunity for people to have access to sign up for programs directly at FISH on a monthly basis. Twice a month the welfare office is at FISH to assist individuals in obtaining benefits or maintaining their benefits. They also have had visits with Nevada Legal Services to assist families. In addition, FISH is an intake site for the energy assistance program. Dates for when these entities will be at FISH can be found on their Facebook page or website. If you have not already taken the opportunity to like and follow the Facebook page for both FISH and the separate page for FISH Thrift Store, I highly recommend you do so! Through the Thrift Store page you can find out when they are having fun sales, or promotions.
FISH would be nowhere without their volunteers. If you would like to help volunteer for FISH there are opportunities at the Thrift Store, Food Bank, Soup Kitchen, Driver, General Maintenance and any other special talents. To become a volunteer reach out to FISH at 775.738.3038.
This is in no way a full picture of all of the amazing things that FISH does. They provide showers, and hygiene products to those that do not have access to them. The list goes on. The incredible work that Sherry and her team do for the clients that they serve could not be recognized enough. We want to send out a heartfelt thank you from Shabonya Dutton State Farm for the dedication to our community. If you would like to donate to FISH you can visit www.fishelko.org, or call 775.738.3038 to learn how.
If you have a Good Neighbor that you would like to nominate please call our office at 775.738.3423, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message our Facebook page at Shabonya Dutton State Farm Agent.