In 1971, eight local churches established Friends In Sonoma Helping, also known as FISH to provide emergency assistance to the people of Sonoma Valley. Founded as a 24-hour telephone answering service, FISH volunteers provided food, clothing, rides, referral services and a listening ear to those who called. FISH has always been run by an all-volunteer staff, with financial support from individuals, churches, service clubs, businesses, and organizations within Sonoma Valley.
In 1973, FISH helped to start Care-A-Van, a locally run, all-volunteer transportation system that scheduled individual appointments for home pick-up. The Crisis Line, Meals-on-Wheels, Sonoma Overnight Support, La Luz, and The Migrant Workers’ Camp also received the support of FISH as fledgling organizations.
As requests for services grew along with the Valley's population, FISH found a home at 18330 Sonoma Highway. In 2002 community donations allowed FISH to establish a permanent Food Room and Clothing Closet at "FISH Central". This space has allowed for the expansion of the Food Room so surplus groceries and bakery items can be safely stored for redistribution. The Clothing Closet was able to expand its hours.
More than 50 years later, FISH continues to respond to the needs of the people within the Valley. As FISH has grown as a community-based organization, it has been able to respond to requests for utility and rental assistance. FISH is proud of its history as an all-volunteer organization that has focused on building community by caring for our neighbors. Our FISH volunteers and numerous contributors work together to act as a lifeline to those in need.