To continue to show that Pine Island is heading in the right direction after Hurricane Ian and to ensure that local families, especially children, have a magical Christmas and have the opportunity to replace some of the toys they have perhaps lost, the Pine Island FISH organization is once again hosting the Christmas basket brigade, but in a slightly different format this year.
On December 17 at Pine Island United Methodist Church, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., FISH will host a free general toy store for children, where toy donations will be placed on tables by type or licensed property and the parents will buy for 2- 3 gifts per child. At the same time, they will have a free Christmas store where children can shop for their parents or grandparents living with them.
Karen Durand, President of the Basket Brigade, said: “FISH is dedicated to helping Islanders get back on their feet and we know we can count on everyone’s generosity to help us. Donations of new, unwrapped toys and gifts can be dropped off in holiday-decorated bins between Nov. 5 and Dec. 10 at any of the four Matlacha Fire Stations, OLMM Catholic Church, Utah. Pine Island United Methodist Church, Centennial Bank and First Horizon. Bank or at the Pine Island Library. A toy collection box will also be available at the free Thanksgiving Community Dinner taking place at the Moose Lodge on Saturday November 26th. Donors offering a large quantity of items should contact Karen Durand at 513-265-7123 directly for pickup. ”
Monetary donations are also welcome and can be made online through the FISH website (just mark Basket Brigade in the notes section), or by check and mailed to Pine Island FISH, PO Box 357, Matlacha, FL 33933.
Pine Island FISH is a 501c3 organization, so donations may be tax deductible.
Last year, FISH had nearly 300 children, in 120 families enrolled in its Christmas Basket Brigade program and the organization expects a similar number this year.
The program is limited to families living on Pine Island and Matlacha.
Families living on Pine Island or Matlacha who need a little extra encouragement are encouraged to register. Please contact Durand at 513-265-7123 or email email@example.com by Monday, December 5 to register to ensure there are enough toys and gifts on hand. If a conversation in Spanish is required, please contact Nancy at 239-257-8385.
The help of volunteers is also needed on December 16 for the installation and on December 17 the day of the event. Contact Durand at 513-265-7123 for more details and to register.
Pine Island FISH (Fellow Islanders Sending Help) is an all-volunteer association of neighbors organized to help people living in the communities of Matlacha and Pine Island. Pine Island FISH is the main agency of Pine Island “Basket Brigade” programs, and also offers loans of mobility equipment; non-emergency transportation and respite and contact information. There is no charge for FISH services, however equipment and cash donations are welcome.
To volunteer, donate, or for more information about the organization, visit the website at www.pineislandfish.org.