One might think we as individuals can do very little, but according to F.I.S.H. of Sanibel, Inc. volunteer Laurie Shannon, this is simply not the case.
She believes each person has the potential to help hundreds of others and by donating, either time or money or both, to a charitable organization. These organizations depend on the generosity of their communities to make donations of money, goods and services, so they can carry out their work.
Shannon was adopted as a baby by a hard-working family. Growing up, she watched her grandfather work hard all his life to make a better life for his family.
"We were never rich with money, but always rich with the things that really matter family, friends and a desire to help others less fortunate," Shannon said.
She too, realizing how lucky she was, wanted to make a better life for others, and find a way to give back to the community.
She started candy striping as a young teen at a local hospital. Even though it took three buses each way to get there, she loved helping others. She could see the effect her being there had on the patients, and it made her feel good. Later in life, she helped start a local chapter of the Windstar Foundation, founded by John Denver, and was involved in various types of local environmental projects.
After moving to Florida, she began working on Sanibel and wanted to once again do something worthwhile for others. At first, she didn't realize that there was need for help on the islands, but when she heard and read about FISH, she saw the evidence that there is, in fact, need everywhere. She signed up as a volunteer and, when able, donated financially to their mission.
Whenever she could, she continued to support FISH, and decided to sponsor the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H this year. The race, on Oct. 19, is the organization's biggest fundraising event this year.
"There are always those less fortunate and I feel the right thing to do is share my good fortune with those in need," Shannon said. "We have a responsibility to care for other people, to help those less fortunate than ourselves. When we have some spare cash, time or goods, it is an opportunity to help out. By making a difference to someone's life, I am leaving behind a legacy. I am making a statement that my life is worthwhile because I made a contribution to society."