Services Provided By FISH
Learn more below about our programs and how they work. If you are in need of services, visit our Get Help From F.I.S.H. page.
Connecting Needs with Services
Every Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., a volunteer dispatcher addresses telephone calls that come to FISH at (707) 996-0111. While some callers seek general information, most are asking for assistance with food, rent, transportation, clothing, utilities, or other aid. Dispatchers direct these requests to FISH coordinators who are the link between those in need and the services FISH provides. Our dispatch service is the heart of the FISH organization.
Providing Nutritious Food
The Food Room: The Food Room is open each weekday (except Wednesdays) at 1:30 p.m. Food is available to anyone who calls in that day before noon. Nutritious groceries, enough for 3-5 days of meals and geared to accommodate the size of each family, consist of staples, ground turkey, a chicken, eggs, bread margarine and fresh fruit and vegetables. Donations arrive daily from surplus grocery and bakery pickups, churches, service clubs and individuals. Additionally, food is purchased in bulk from a number of sources including Redwood Empire Food Blank and Sonoma Market. Bags are often supplemented with cooking oil, condiments, and personal toiletry items, most of which are donated by individuals and organizations. FISH volunteers pick up food, stock shelves, repackage bulk items into small units, and assemble bags of groceries to be distributed to those in need.
Food Delivery for Seniors: On the first Wednesday and third Wednesday of each month, FISH volunteers provide supplemental food deliveries for homebound seniors. Any senior without transportation to pick up food at the FISH Food Closet may request to be added to these home delivery programs. The food boxes are generally identical to the food distributed at the Food Room, but there area a few adjustments made for the unique needs of seniors.
Holiday Food Baskets: The weekend before Christmas, a large basket of essential food items for a holiday dinner is distributed to preregistered recipients. Holiday Baskets contain a certificate for a meat product, staple items, fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, bread, eggs, cheese, cooking oil, and dessert items. Preregistration for Holiday Baskets is conducted through LaLuz and the Sonoma Community Health Center and FISH Central in November. Baskets are picked up at Hanna Boys Center or delivered. Community donations, including the proceeds from Bell Ringing, and help from additional community volunteers make this program possible.
Clothing and Layettes
Clothes Closet: Clean usable clothing for all ages is stocked in the Clothes Room for client selection on Tuesdays 10 a.m. - noon. and Wednesdays 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (for information on when clothing donations are accepted, please see our Donation page).
Layettes and Diapers: All Sonoma Valley babies are welcomed into the world with a lovely layette. Standard layette items assembled by FISH for newborns and their moms include a homemade quilt from the Sonoma Valley Quilters, diapers, onesies, sweater, hat, booties, wipes, shampoo and other items. Layettes are available by calling FISH at 996-0111, going to the Clothing Room or at Sonoma Valley Community Health Clinic. Disposable diapers are also available at the Food Room, and FISH provides diapers to the Sonoma Valley Community Health Clinic's Mommy & Me program.
Rides to Medical Appointments: A large cadre of dedicated drivers provide rides to medical appointments for individuals who are unable to use local transportation such as buses and Volunteer Wheels. Rides are provided locally as well as out-of-town. However, rides to San Francisco, Oakland and Davis are hard to fill and may not be provided. A ride request is received a week to ten days in advance of the medical appointment. Persons who are able to take the bus or use Para-transit can request tickets from F.I.S.H. We also provide "loaners" of durable medical equipment such as walkers and shower chairs.
Emergency Help with Rent and Utilities
Rental Assistance: Requests for rental assistance require a private interview and, generally, a site visit. Information required includes a copy of the rental agreement, proof of income, family size, etc. Due to limited resources, clients are usually allowed financial help once, although exceptions are made. Application can be made online.
Utilities Assistance: F.I.S.H. provides emergency help with utilities (PG&E, water) and application can be made online. Again, generally this assistance is limited to once a year. Our utilities assistance page provides information and links on other utility assistance programs.
Learn more about F.I.S.H. services through our newsletter and annual report, and follow us on facebook and instagram. If you are in need of services, visit our Get Help From F.I.S.H. page.