Sonoma Valley Sun


FISH meets increased Sonoma Valley demand

Posted on January 22, 2024 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The use of services from FISH — the nonprofit Friends in Sonoma Helping — grew significantly in 2023. The Springs-based agency saw demand rise over 50% for its Food Pantry — more than 1,500 Sonoma Valley households with a total of 3,265 adults and 1,519 children.

At the same time, its Rent Assistance, Utilities Assistance, Medical Rides, and Medical Equipment loan programs all saw increases of 15%-20% in the number served.

FISH solicits grants and gratefully accept monetary donations from businesses and organizations.  But it is individual donations and bequests from community members that make up the vast majority of the revenue FISH receives — more than 70% in 2023.

In-kind donations, including food, clothing, and medical equipment, also play a huge role in making FISH services possible.  Food donations come daily or weekly from local markets, annually from food drives by local scouts and postal workers,  and many times in between from local farms, groups like the Neighborhood Food Project, and even local FFA and 4H auctions.

Food from community partners like Redwood Empire Food Bank, Farm to Pantry, and Sonoma Food Runners, also play a major role.

The FISH mission to provide safety net services is made possible by volunteers. To help meet the growing need for services, and to fill the shoes of long-time volunteers who “retired” from FISH, the agency welcomed over two dozen new volunteers to our roster in 2023. The roster now numbers more than 155 individuals regularly dedicating their time and talents, from dispatch to driving, providing client assistance to stocking shelves, and all manner of administrative and coordination roles.


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