Faith in Serving Humanity was prayed into fruition in March of 1991. The Monroe Area Ministerial Association (MAMA) was holding their monthly meeting. This particular month they were meeting at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and were hosted by Rev. Foley Beach. The pastors discussed the intense amount of poverty and demands for financial assistance from the area churches. It was stated that it would be nice to come together and have one entity to provide food, and finances to assist those in need. The churches would support with food, funds and volunteers. This would allow a better service to those in need as well as being a better steward of the resources God has blessed us with. An application process would be put into place to make sure funds were being used for true needs. It was noted that a little thrift store could help pay for overhead and provide free items to families in need.
The first building was a little store front located next to Jeffcoat’s Barbershop. The thrift store was at the front, food pantry to the side, waiting area and office in back. The Felker family allowed FISH to use the facility rent-free. The utilities and renovations were the responsibility of FISH. The initial assistance was mainly, food, clothing, utilities and prescriptions. The Lord’s ministry of FISH began to grow. The Felker foundation gave land and funds to start a building fund.
The FISH Executive Committee and volunteers began working on funding to build a new facility at Madison Avenue & Mill Street. FISH began serving in the new building in 2001. A thrift store, food pantry, and offices were located in the same facility. FISH moved into the new building and it was debt free.
The thrift store was blessed beyond measure and moved into a much larger, rent-free building also given to FISH for use by the Felker family. Later FISH purchased the Old Coca Cola plant on Spring Street for the thrift store. We opened a thrift store in Loganville in 2009. The in-kind donations are such a blessing.
All proceeds from FISH thrift stores pay all operating costs of all aspects of FISH FISH4Kids and FISH Medical and Dental. 100% of all financial donations go to assist someone in need.
In 2005, FISH stepped out in faith to supply the children of Walton County with a daily lunch. The concern was that free and reduced-lunch children would not have a meal during the summer, so FISH4Kids was born. Currently FISH4Kids provides 2,300 meals on Monday thru Friday to the children. With the help of many volunteers, we deliver these lunches door to door.
This program has now expanded for the last few years to include the Backpack Buddies program which currently provides close to 1,000 bags of food for the weekend. The Backpack Buddies program places nutritious kid-friendly food into the backpacks of the most at-risk children to help them have a seamless source of good food.
Over the years the FISH ministry witnessed the immense number of individuals without means to see a doctor, dentist or even pay for their medication. FISH has assisted individuals with their medications since the opening in 2001. Again God showed FISH a need and we prayerfully put into motion for the opening of FISH Medical and Dental, which opened in 2012. FISH Dental is located at 226 Alcovy Street in building F, and FISH Medical is located in building D. Since opening F.I.S.H. Dental has served close to 1,000 patients and has a waiting list of over 900. FISH Medical has served over 2,000 patients.
The backbone to all that is accomplished through FISH, FISH4Kids and FISH Medical and Dental is our servant minded volunteers who give graciously their time, talents and resources. We continue to do the will of God and seek His counsel and wisdom.