FISH anticipates ‘unprecedented’ requests for assistance this year, seeks donations

GRAND BLANC — The holidays are only a short time away. There are only a few weeks left to prepare for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas tree with gifts.

For struggling Grand Blanc families, reminders of the impending holidays trigger an increased level of stress and worry. Many have had to sacrifice a part-time job to take care of their school-age children and many others have had their hours cut or lost jobs due to COVID-19.

FISH has been assisting Grand Blanc residents by providing weekly food distributions since March 16.

Barb Smith, chairman of FISH, states that, “At that time, we were assisting 175 to 200 people monthly. The number of recipients continues to grow and we are serving 400 to 415 residents weekly.”

Based on this growth, FISH is anticipating unprecedented requests for holiday help. In turn, your continued support is vital to fill that need.

FISH is asking the community to start thinking of how they, their co-workers, church, neighborhood group, civic organization or business will participate in the annual Thanksgiving Feed the Bus Drive occurring from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21.

Sponsored by Genisys Credit Union and in partnership with the Grand Bland Police and Fire departments and Sam’s, FISH plans to fill at least one large school bus located at the High School parking lot with non-perishable food including cereal, meals in a can/box, soups, peanut butter and more.

Donations from this drive will also be used toward fixin’s for Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas program.

This year their Christmas program is undergoing changes to help ensure there are smiles on the faces of children from birth to grade 12. FISH will ask sponsors to adopt families and provide them with four to five gifts per child, along with hygiene products, toilet paper and laundry supplies and FISH will combine these items with food to complete the Christmas packages.

Interested sponsors may call: 810-866-4409 or email: GBChristmasbaskets@gmail.com.

To be eligible, Christmas program applicants must live in the Grand Blanc Community Schools district, participate in the federally-funded free lunch program and receive food stamps.

Those families with pre-school children must provide their Michigan Department of Health and Human Services letter of approval.

Packages will be distributed on Monday, Dec. 14. Application requests are available through the FISH Hot Line, 810-695-1880 until Nov. 1.

For more information about how you can help FISH, please call 810-866-4409 or email fishofgrandblancmi@gmail.com. You may also visit www.fishofgrandblanc.org. — L.R.