If you’re inclined to help a worthy cause, now would be a good time make a donation to Fish of Albany. This charity has been hampered by the reconstruction of Hill Street, which started in April and isn’t completely finished yet.
I went by there (1880 Hill St. S.E.) on the bike on Sunday after hearing that donations had been down. Sure enough, the sidewalk was still unfinished and access to the parking lot blocked.
Holly Ryan is the executive director of Fish, which helps people in need with food boxes, clothing and various other kinds of emergency aid. I asked her, and today she gave me a rundown of what was going on.
The Fish parking lot has been cut off for more than 30 days. That and the reduced access on Hill Street have caused a slowdown in both donations and the services provided to households, she said. But she’s glad that Fish has a back door on a side street and was able to hand out food boxes that way.
Besides that, the property’s sprinkler lines were cut and the trash and recycling bins have not been emptied for about a month, “very inconvenient and stinky.”
“On the bright side,” Holly Ryan went on, “our regular donors are still finding a way to get to us to bring their generous gifts, and we are doing our best to give our clients options for services.” She’s especially grateful to “all our persistent gardeners” who have been supplying fresh produce for the Fish food boxes.
Now, Fish is scrambling to come up with backpacks and school supplies to give to 300 Albany students in time for the start of school. The latest word on Facebook was that they still needed about 200 packs to make that goal.
Fish accepts donations from 9 to 3 Monday through Friday. So, school supplies and backpacks — or money to buy the same — would not come amiss. And besides, Holly says, “the food pantry is in need of canned fruit.” (hh)
Postscript: Marilyn Smith, public information officer for the city administration, disagreed with Fish about the length of time the parking lot was cut off: “The driveway was graveled for temporary access from the time the original concrete was removed until the new driveway was built. It was completely closed for only a few days for final paving and installation of drains. The driveway was poured on Monday.”