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In the spirit

F.I.S.H. creates gift baskets

December 19, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

One hundred and two baskets were created Friday morning at the United Methodist Church for 223 children and 48 individuals and couples for the Fellow Islanders Sending Help Basket Brigade Program.

Last year, F.I.S.H. was able to provide for 103 families, which included 237 children and 31 individuals or couples.

Volunteers filled Wesley Hall at the church, sitting in chairs or standing next to the tables to wrap presents for the youngsters. The gifts were delivered Saturday.

Article Photos


Donna Miller wraps presents with F.I.S.H. for the Christmas Basket Brigade program.

Bobbie Burr was among one of the women who attended the Christmas wrapping party. She said she has volunteered her time to wrap presents since F.I.S.H. began.

Because F.I.S.H. needed help, Burr thought, what the heck; it would help her get in the Christmas spirit. Now many years later, the day of wrapping still puts her in the holiday spirit.

"It's the Christmas spirit of helping others," she said.

Burr said she likes how everything files into one organization to help those who need it on the island.

"They have a good handle of everyone who needs the help," she said.

Bags, which were accompanied with a number, were full of items to wrap.

Each gift had a sticky note that provided the basket number and if the child was a boy or girl. Once the presents were wrapped, the same sticky note went on the present, which was then placed back in the bag.

Another long-time volunteer, Candy Bear, said she has wrapped presents for 20 years.

"The camaraderie, even though everyone is busy they make time to do for others," she said of why she has continued to volunteer. "This is also how we meet snowbirds."

Bear said the Basket Brigade is nice for the island because you know that everything stays here.

"It's better when you feel like you are doing something for the area we live in," she said.

Bear was also impressed with what people purchased for the Basket Brigade this year.

A newcomer, Marge Talarico, joined the volunteers for the second year Friday.

"I like wrapping," she said of why she volunteers. "I don't do it at home anymore, so I do it here."

Talarico said helping out on Friday is a benefit of retirement.

Her friend Diane Schneider, who provided a helping hand for the third year, began due to the group Red Hats with KOA.

"This is our project every year," she said.

Although Schneider enjoys wrapping, she said her true joy is buying the toys. She went out after Thanksgiving dinner and did not return home until 6 a.m. the next morning because of all the great sales.

"I think it's very important people get involved," she said.

Mary Jo Roane wanted to thank all the volunteers for everything they do.

"It is amazing living on this island," she said.

F.I.S.H. President Diane Higgins thanked the community for all of its generosity because it will make everyone's holiday a little brighter.



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