Eastern Henrico FISH Provides Assistance
Eastern Henrico FISH depends on the help of local churches and charitable organizations to get members in the community back on their feet.
The non-profit serves Henrico residents east and south of Mechanicsville Turnpike including Highland Springs, Varina, and Sandston providing clothes, food, and financial assistance for people with short term emergencies.
“We strive for FISH’s presence to help strengthen Eastern Henrico through the organizations and community that supports us,” said Vickie Martin, director of FISH.
Martin has been with FISH since 2002 and got involved with the organization through her church, New Bridge Baptist, and has worked as a volunteer and staff member before becoming director.
FISH, which is a nationwide organization, has been in Metro Richmond for 38 years and since 2001 has served clients and donors out of Village Presbyterian Church with a clothes closet, food pantry, information and referral services.
“We moved to the church to be more accessible to clients and to make it easier for donors to drop things off,” said Martin.
The organization helps victims in all kinds of situations that have put them at a disadvantage. FISH covers portions of rent, a mortgage, car repair, or utilities for those that qualify.
FISH has established criteria to help the people in the community who are desperately in need of financial aid or other items and takes time to consider circumstances in each household. Last year, it served 400 households, or about 1,100 individuals.
“We look at what the need is, we see them through that emergency, and are there to help them get through that bump in the road,” said Martin.
All of the items such as clothes and food are donated by the community or from members of the 26 churches that are involved with FISH. The group partners with these churches, civic groups, businesses, social services and other government agencies and non-profits to better serve their clients.
“We rely on churches in the community for support,” said Martin.
Fundraisers are held by the non-profit to spread awareness and help to aid their mission. An annual benefit concert is held to bring everyone involved in the organization together and take up donations. It’s usually the organization's largest event and is held at different venues each year. The most recent concert was held at Sandston Baptist Church.
Eastern Henrico FISH has an average of 50 volunteers, with several coming in each week to assist families and individuals over the phone and work in the clothes closet and food pantry rooms. In 2009, volunteers gave 3,000 hours of their to help clients of FISH.
“Without the support of our volunteers we couldn’t maintain,” said Martin.
Eutanaha Fluker has volunteered for FISH for over 20 years and has seen the positive effect the organization has on the community.
“FISH does a good job of determining what a person’s real needs are and referring them to churches,” said Fluker. Like Martin, Fluker is a member of New Bridge Baptist and got involved after word spread about the growing needs of the non-profit.
“It’s really important for churches to work together to do what we do for FISH,” Fluker said.
Fluker has served as a church representative for the group in the past, worked the phone taking calls from clients and spent hours in the food pantry and clothes closet.
Around this time of year, FISH receives a good amount of food donations for its food pantry but is in serious need of financial donations. It's also seeking other churches that are interested in joining the cause.
“We’re always looking to add churches to support our mission,” said Martin.
FISH is available to people in the Eastern Henrico area Monday- Friday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Families or individuals needing assistance from FISH, or people who wish to make a contribution, can reach the organization at 222-5564.
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Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.
Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.
At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.
Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.
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CAT Theatre will hold auditions for Book of Days on Sunday, Oct. 26 and Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. each day. Auditions will be held at CAT Theatre, 319 North Wilkinson Road in Henrico. Book of Days will run Jan. 23-Feb. 7 and is one of CAT’s submissions to the Acts of Faith Festival.
Book of Days, by Pulitzer Prize winner Lanford Wilson is an exploration of faith, justice, and corruption, amidst the backdrop of murder – and community theatre – in small town America. Book of Days was first written for and produced by Jeff Daniels Purple Rose Theatre Company of Michigan.
Director Leslie Cline is seeking five females between the ages of 20-65 and seven males between the ages of 24-65. > Read more.
CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run Oct. 24 through Nov. 8. The play is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and adapted by Steven Dietz, and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.
The story follows Holmes, whose career as the world’s greatest detective seems to have reached its end until he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer, Irene Adler, Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. > Read more.
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