With help from Bank of the Islands, FISH OF SANCAP, the islands’ neighbors helping neighbors organization, will have Easter Bunny gifts to distribute this season!

Bank of the Islands is hosting an Easter bunny basket gift drive to benefit families that FISH serves. The drive will begin Feb. 22 through Mar. 15. Unwrapped, unopened toy donations for ages 0-18 will be accepted at 1699 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel during the Bank’s regular operating hours. Suggested items include small toys and sweets, Peeps® and colorful tooth brushes, coloring books, etc.

“This seasonal drive is a great addition to the essential year round collection of contributions for the FISH Food Pantry. We encourage islanders to drop off non-perishable food items as well as donated Easter basket toys,” says Greg Blurton, FISH Board Member and Bank of the Islands, V.P.

For families served by FISH, under-employment and lost income from the hurricane disaster is the main reason their struggles continue. Due to ongoing repair and rebuilding expenses, these individuals have become ‘house poor’. House poor, by definition, means individuals spend too much on housing expenses relative to income. As it relates to hurricane survivors, it means the cost of repairing or rebuilding homes leaves little money left for living expenses, paying bills, or savings, resulting in debt accumulation for the duration of their long-term recovery.

By providing Easter basket toys, neighbors can breathe a little easier knowing that their children will receive a gift or two Easter morning.

In addition to specialty items for gift drives, Bank of the Islands collects items for the FISH Food Pantry year-round. Food pantry items should be new, unopened and non-perishable. FISH sees firsthand how the rising cost of food products coupled with disaster related expenses is affecting their Food Pantry participants.  Many Pantry users report they are concerned about living expenses as a whole since the hurricane, since so many have made unexpected, unbudgeted out-of-pocket payments to remediate or repair their homes.

“This is a particularly difficult time for our community for so many reasons – long-term recovery from Ian, inflation, and cost of gas and supply shortages,” says Merari Salines, Community Outreach Manager. “We’re thankful to Bank of the Islands and others that support our holiday and food pantry programs.”

If you or a family you know is in need of assistance for the Easter holiday and/or in need of food assistance, please contact Merari at FISH at 239-472-4775 or [email protected].


Visit the FISH website and social media pages to see firsthand how the agency works to better the community and their response to the Ian disaster. To learn more about other services of FISH, please contact Maria Espinoza, Executive Director, at (239) 472-4775 or visit their website at www.fishofsancap.org.