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Our History

Serving the Valley for over 50 years

In 1971, eight local churches established Friends In Sonoma Helping (also known as FISH) to provide emergency assistance to the people of Sonoma Valley. Founded as a 24-hour telephone answering service, FISH volunteers provided food, clothing, rides, referral services and a listening ear to those who called. FISH has always been run by an all-volunteer staff, with financial support from individuals, churches, service clubs, businesses, and organizations within Sonoma Valley.

In 1973, FISH helped to start Care-A-Van, a locally run, all-volunteer transportation system.  Over the years, the Crisis Line, Meals on Wheels, Sonoma Overnight Support, La Luz Center, and The Migrant Workers’ Camp also received the support of FISH as fledgling organizations.

As requests for services grew along with the Valley's population, community donations allowed FISH to establish a permanent Food Room and Clothing Closet at "FISH Central" in 2002.  This location allowed FISH to safely store surplus groceries and bakery items for redistribution, and enabled the Clothing Closet to expand its hours.

Fifty years later, FISH of Sonoma Valley continues to respond to the needs of our community. As FISH has grown, it has been able to respond to requests for utility and rental assistance, a service that became even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. FISH is proud of its history as an all-volunteer organization that has focused on building community by caring for our neighbors. Our FISH volunteers and numerous contributors work together to act as a lifeline to those in need.