March to a Million Meals: helping solve hunger in Sanibel

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz
Published: Updated:
Lea este artículo en Noticias WINK

The hunger problem is real on Sanibel. In fact, island workers have never seen it this bad.

Sanibel and Captiva have been through a lot in the past few years, especially after Hurricane Ian dealt them a tough blow.

“We’ve seen devastations that have hit the region from red tide to worldwide COVID and inflation costs,” said Maria Espinoza, executive director of FISH of Sancap.

But Espinoza said she’s never seen anything as devastating to the barrier islands as Hurricane Ian.

“No community is ready for a Category 5 storm to hit,” said Karen Miller, a Sanibel resident. “Nobody, no matter what tax bracket you’re in, is prepared to figure out what you do after that and those next steps.”

Miller knows that better than most. She said she lost her house and everything she owned.

“I got sick, and I was hospitalized, intubated with pneumonia, so it’s been a long road,” she said.

Through it all, Miller said FISH’s food pantry has been a lifeline for many, whether it be for fresh produce, canned goods or even things you can’t eat but still need around the house.

“We just have Jerry’s for the grocery store, and the traffic has been really bad, so it’s hard to get off the island,” she said.

Espinoza said they’ve tried to be a helping hand for the people living on the islands and those working here.

“They’ve been dedicated to these islands since before the storm and now continue to work out here after some of them coming all the way from Lehigh and beyond,” Espinoza said, “so this is the only opportunity they have to access a food pantry or any source of free food for their families.”

While every day is a work in progress, those on Sanibel and Captiva can rest a little easier knowing FISH will be with them every step of the way.

“Everybody is so sweet, very helpful and to volunteer their time to help us is wonderful,” Miller said.

Anyone looking to learn more about FISH of Sancap can click here.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.