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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RVA Polar Plunge raises $40k for Special Olympics


More than 300 participants took the plunge for charity Feb. 25 at The Shops at Willow Lawn, raising $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Virginia as part of the 2017 RVA Polar Plunge Fest. Participants jumped into frigid water as part of the event, having raised money through donations leading up to the event.

“At Special Olympics Virginia, our vision is to inspire the first unified generation; a generation of people who respectfully include each other in the school, in the workplace, in the community,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President. “Plunging this past Saturday included people with intellectual disabilities and those without; people of all ages, genders, races and religions; students and teachers; doctors and lawyers; military and law enforcement; one for all; all for one." > Read more.

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“It's in the Bag” included handbag designer Thaddeus DuBois and his family from Syracuse, Ind. DuBois brought four handcrafted handbags, which were auctioned off and raised more than $4,000. Three autographed handbags from “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker also brought funds. > Read more.

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These young adults are known as pages. They are middle school and high school students from around Virginia who assist in everyday tasks at the General Assembly to experience firsthand how the legislative process works.

The program dates as far back as 1850, when the one page who worked was paid $2 a day. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Henrico County Community Author Showcase, a program that connects writers and readers in the community, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue on the second Monday and every Thursday of the month at various libraries. Angela Wood and Natasha Tabon will share their children’s book “The Misadventures of Tood and Taboon: Lost in the Forest” at Twin Hickory Library. For details, visit http://www.henricolibrary.org/authors. Full text

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