FISH provides a hand up, not a hand out

For the Sidney Daily News


SIDNEY — FISH of Shelby County Inc. celebrated 34 years of service to the community in 2016.

“We are a 501 C 3 , tax exempt organization that prides itself in helping the citizens of our community with affordable clothing, household items and other items to help make their lives better,” said Becky Gillman, FISH president. “We moved to our present location six years ago in November of 2010 and our business has grown every year.”

Her report continues:

Our customer base has increased quite a bit beyond our local community. We have people shopping with us from Lima and Dayton, along with other counties. These people not only shop with us, they support us with nice donations. We feel very fortunate that we had not had to increase our prices since before we moved and as long as we can continue to operate on a positive scale we will keep our prices the same. Our purpose is to help as many people as possible with needed items.

After some discussion, planning, and a lot of research, we were able to have a security system installed and we can monitor areas of our shop at all times. We hope we never have to make use of this, but it is comforting to know we are protected. We also installed a slightly tinted window covering on our large front windows to cut down on the glare that comes in on bright days. It will also protect our merchandise from fading. We feel both of these additions make our shop a better place to shop for everyone.

We were able to add respiratory prescriptions to the list of medications we already cover; blood pressure, heart, diabetes and some infections. We do not cover any controlled substance medications. We also had our first “Prom Dress Event.” We asked for donations of these dresses and received a great response. We then had a special day and invited all high school girls to come in and purchase a beautiful dress for $10 each and be entered into a drawing for gift certificates of jewelry,shoes, flowers, hair and food to help make the evening special for these girls.

We feel it is our purpose to give back to our community and we have been fortunate to do that by supporting other organizations that include The Senior Center, Christmas Community Dinner, Senior Day at the Shelby County fair, Serenity House, summer lunch in the park for children , Lunch Bunch, Comforting Kids, and St. Vincent De Paul of Sidney.

We were able to help provide food for 1,301 adults and 1151 children in 2016. Thirty-one families were able to get needed school supplies and book bags to help make their child’s school year get off to a better start. We provided 84 pair of steel toed shoes to our citizens to help them secure a job, along with needed clothing. Some of these people had secured a job but didn’t have the needed items. We feel it is important to help these people get back into the work system.

Our year ended with sad news that our founder, Barbara Smith, had passed away. We will strive to continue the legacy of this lovely lady by helping everyone in our community live a better life and make FISH bigger and better in 2017. We pride ourselves in giving people a hand up, not a hand out.


For the Sidney Daily News