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November 9, 2021

FISH receives award from Master Gardeners

Photo/Tommy Walsh
Ruth Umbel of the Master Gardener Association presents the 2021 Community Partnership Award to FISH board members Charity Furness and Megan Oakley.
The Master Gardener Association of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties has presented its sixth annual Community Partnership Award to Fauquier FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help).

Founded in 1983, FISH provides a range of services to Fauquier County residents with the mission: “Neighbors helping neighbors with kindness and respect just as we would want to be treated in a time of need.”

Programs include food pantry distribution, a book bag and school supply drive, Weekend Power Pack meals for Fauquier school children, meals delivered to the Warrenton Senior Center, Farmers Market PoPBucks Program and holiday food baskets.

The FISH Food Pantry at 24 Pelham St. in Old Town Warrenton is open three days a week. The organization relies on a dedicated group of more than 50 volunteers. FISH accepts monetary donations and shelf-stable food items.

Charity Furness, a FISH board member, noted that the demand for services has expanded greatly during the pandemic. Because the organization seeks to provide nutritious meals from the Food Pantry, it offers DASH (Delicious, Affordable, Simple, and Healthy) meals that include meat, vegetables, seasonings and recipes for clients to prepare food at home.

During 2018, FISH introduced a kid-friendly version, intended to encourage children to prepare meals/snacks at home. This is a supplemental program offering food to their child clients beyond what their family is already receiving through the regular pantry menu.

For more information, visit or call 540-347-3474.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension Office is also at 24 Pelham St., where the Master Gardeners have expanded one of their vegetable demonstration gardens in front of the building over the past few years. Although primarily for teaching safe, effective and sustainable garden management practices, the garden’s increased size has significantly increased output.

Master Gardener Steve Raggo has been delivering the extremely fresh produce to the food pantry as it ripens. FISH welcomes the fresh vegetables since it focuses on the nutritional value of the meals the nonprofit provides.

Because they share the location with FISH, the Master Gardeners have seen first-hand a lot of the good work the organization does. The community partnership award honors that work.

The award, including a monetary donation and several boxes of non-perishable goods, was presented on Saturday, October 23, at the Master Garden Association of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties Harvest Celebration.
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