Community spirit hits a high note

Posted on November 15, 2012 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Beth Carter and Sandy Piotter where overwhelmed by the generosity of the audience at a recent concert.

The concert audience at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church was moved and inspired by performances of American songs, operatic works and soaring chorals. Soprano Beth Carter found the response equally thrilling. The generous support of the attendees translated into almost 500 pounds of non-perishable food items, a barrel of clean, usable clothing and over $1,000 in cash. 

“The generosity of this community never ceases to overwhelm and surprise me,” Carter said. “I stood at the front of the sanctuary looking down the aisle at this basket of envelopes overflowing with donations and bags and bags of food and was almost overcome many times.”

Knowing that the holidays tend to be difficult in many ways for some community members, Carter said she jumped at the opportunity to give back and make her afternoon of song a benefit for Friends in Sonoma Helping.

Choosing F.I.S.H. was easy, Carter said, as she knows many volunteers who spend countless hours preparing food baskets this time of year, “volunteers who work tirelessly expecting nothing in return except the good feeling giving provides.”

 For the past 41 years F.I.S.H. volunteers have provided food, clothing, rides, referral service and a listening ear to those who call for help. The 160 volunteers depend on additional financial support from individuals, businesses, civic and service organizations, grants, and legacy gifts to sustain this important work.
“With Thanksgiving and the holidays just around the corner, F.I.S.H. deeply appreciates these generous donations,” said Sandy Piotter, the group’s executive director. “As the weather turns cold, there is a demand for warm clothing, and during the winter there are more requests for food.”

One of the largest sources of funding for FISH is the bell ringing effort before Christmas at CVS, Glen Ellen Market, Lucky, Safeway and Sonoma Market.  

The Bell Ringing Fund supports the annual Christmas Food Giveaway, scheduled this year for December 21 at Hanna Boys Center. Last year the program provided food to more than 1,500 people and 350 families.

“From the beautiful soprano voice of Beth Carter to the bell ringing for the holiday food baskets, F.I.S.H. is thankful for these sounds of music,” Piotter said.

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