History of F.I.S.H. of Wabash, Inc. food pantry. On March 3rd, 1980, Friends in Service Here, a non-profit charity, was established in Wabash.
The concept of such ministry can be found in the Bible as far back as Exodus. "Fishes" were organized in England during World War II. Individual neighborhoods set up their own block project. Each block of rowhouses established headquarters where volunteers donated and distributed goods and services free of charge to the needy. To ensure that everyone could understand where to find the services, each headquarters was marked with an Icthos which is the Greek symbol for "fish" as well as an ancient Christian symbol of recognition and hospitality. One only had to be told to go to the door with the fish on it for help. Eventually, these places became known as "Fish." As it still is today, each "Fish" was sponsored by its community for its community. The idea was so successful that it expanded to other countries including Australia, Canada, and the United States.
In 1979 the Wabash Ministerial Association suggested the creation of a "Fish" for Wabash. Working with local churches, the necessary wheels were set into motion. A Board of Directors was established. They decided to turn the letters of "fish" into an acronym for Friends In Service Here. "That's exactly what we are," said F.I.S.H. President Emeritus John Votaw who retired in 1996. While F.I.S.H. provides the same or similar services as other Fishes, Friends in Service Here and the acronym F.I.S.H. are unique to Wabash.
From 1980 until 1994, F.I.S.H. had no established headquarters. It existed as a telephone hotline with volunteers receiving calls at their homes. Food was stored at various local churches and delivered to recipients.
In 1994, F.I.S.H. found a home in the basement of the Women's Club House at the above address. This spacious, ground level area is generously donated by the City of Wabash which owns the building. Many necessities were donated by various individuals, churches, and merchants: a sign for Hill Street, sturdy storage shelves, long tables, refrigerators, freezers, and office furnishings. Since 2002, a new sign, new carpeting for the pantry and office areas, and a new freezer have been donated by local merchants.
Since the organization established a permanent home, phone calls to volunteers' homes and delivery service were discontinued. Eligibility requirements to receive food from F.I.S.H. are simply that a person/family have no food and are unable to buy food. While F.I.S.H. cannot sustain individuals or families, it can offer much needed temporary assistance.
Then in 2021 it was decided to relocate to the Lighthouse Crossings at 123 West Canal Street. Multiple local outreach services are housed in one location to help those in the community in need.
Friends In Service Here hopes to continue serving the needs of our community for many more years. With everyone's help we can flourish. F.I.S.H. thanks every person, business, and organization for recognizing that people are hungry everywhere.
"Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may provide in abundance for every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:7-8