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Fish Volunteers of Cape Girardeau
106 South Sprigg Street
573 -334-0207

About Fish

FISH, is a not-for-profit agency serving the Cape Girardeau area. With the help of churches like First Presbyterian Church, civic organizations and dedicated individuals FISH helps 3,300 -3600 people a year right here in Cape. In 2011, FISH served 3,637 people which is close to what Fish did in 2010 when Fish served 3,683 people. FISH relies heavily on word-of-mouth rather than organized solicitation for the food that it distributes. During 2011, the highest monthly request for food served 381 people in June.  The monthly record was set in November of 2010 with 433 people served. As of November 2012, FISH has served 3372 people. The highest month for people served was November with 428 people served. 

Donating Food

FISH accepts any non perishable food item. While corn and green beans are needed, the supply of these two items is usually overwhelming. The normal food items FISH needs the most are Macaroni & Cheese; Tuna; Canned Fruit such as fruit salad, applesauce or sliced peaches; peanut butter; canned chili, ravioli, spaghetti; and corned beef hash. For specific food items needed this month, call FISH (334-0207). However, FISH accepts any non-perishable food item. FISH spent over $31,000.00 in 2011 on additional food supplies for the hungry.


Currently, FISH has ongoing 60 - 80 volunteers who help answer the phones and actually fill the orders. However, they need more volunteers whose only requirement is to be able to work only three hours per month. Volunteers answer the phone, fill grocery orders, and pick up food from donating organizations and/or businesses.  To volunteer, call FISH 334-0207.

Requesting Assistance

Help must be requested by telephone. Access to the pantry for assistance is by telephone only. The telephone number for FISH is 334-0207 and is listed in the telephone book under "Fish Volunteers of Cape Girardeau". Anyone requesting help must be able to provide their social security number and/or other identification.

Service Hours

The hours for FISH are 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Types of help FISH provides:

Food for the hungry. FISH provides food for one week at a time depending on the size of the family. Normally, those served are limited to repeat only after 3 months. The groceries are packed by volunteers and are ready for pick up at 106 South Sprigg Street. Pick ups are by appointment only. FISH accepts referrals from churches, the Division of Family Service, and other social agencies.

FISH does NOT help with rent, telephone or medical bills.
Donations to FISH are both in-kind and cash. FISH co-operates with all government, community and private benevolent agencies. 


A. Why FISH started

1. Emergency needs often unmet by existing programs and agencies
2. Desire of local Christian churches to cooperate in helping ministry

B. How FISH Started

1. After one year of planning, FISH telephone ministry began May, 1980.

a. FISH is Greek acronym (IX0YC) for "Jesus Christ, God's Son , Savior"
b. The fish was symbol used by early Christians to identify themselves to one another in times of persecution .
c. The name FISH was chosen as a symbol of Christian caring toward those who need help.

FISH has a Board of Directors which meets bi-monthly. There is also an annual meeting held every May.


Christian fish symbol has a long history
Friday, April 24, 2009

In the early Christian community, one of the symbols that united primitive Christians was the cross of Jesus Christ. Next to that, the ichthus, or fish symbol ranked as one of the most important in unlocking the secrets of the mystery that became Christianity.

Clement of Alexandria (150 A.D.) is the first early Christian church father to have specifically mentioned the fish symbol as pertaining to Christian usage (The Pedagogue 3:11). He did not give an explanation for its use, which seems to imply that the Christian community he was writing for understood the meaning of the symbol.

This symbol first brought to mind in the fledgling Christian community the way Jesus shared a meal of fish with the disciples, on the shore of the Sea of Tiberius, in Galilee, after the resurrection (John 21:11). But, it had a deeper, mysterious and more secret meaning.

The fish symbol references an acrostic, consisting of the initial letters of five Greek words which formed the word for "fish" in the Greek: ICTYS, pronounced ICHTHYS. It contained the Greek letters Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon and Sigma. To the early Christian community, this signified, "Iesous Christos, Theou Yios, Soter," or in the English translation of the Greek, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior."

Several representations of the fish symbol can be found on the walls of the Catacombs. It initially enabled Christians to identify themselves to each other in secret, because they did not want to be overheard by their persecutors when they were worshiping Christ. The fish symbol enabled them to recognize each other without the need for verbal communication. They then, could jointly, but silently, proclaim their profession of faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

When a Christian met a stranger on the road, one would draw one-half of the outline of the fish on a rock or in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other half, both Christian believers knew that they could enjoy fellowship and freely share their secret belief in Jesus Christ.

The fish symbol was also scratched on walls or rocks to point the way to where Christians were meeting in secret, at ever-changing locations. A similar symbol had been utilized by non-Christian Greeks at the time to mark the location of funerals, so the Christian usage blended with that one. The church father, Tertullian, would later refer to the early Christians who were being baptized as, "Little fishes, after the image of our Ichthys, born in water." (Baptism, Tert.1)

During the reign of the Emperor Constantine (307-337 A.D.), the persecution of Christians ceased, as he declared Christianity to be the official religion of the state. The fish symbol seems to have disappeared after the fourth century as Christianity spread and the secret of the "mystery fish" became more widely known to the world. It has been revitalized once more in recent times.


Faith, Fellowship, Worship - Flowing as Mighty as the Mississippi