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About Us

FISH started in 1967 with some volunteers from seven churches and a meager budget of $200 that paid mostly for the answering service. Today, this organization is a major Fairfax human services provider with about 200 volunteers from 14 churches and an annual budget of more than $100,000. Now we help about a thousand families who need emergency support each year.

FISH chose the name and logo used by the early-persecuted Christians who drew this outline in the dirt to identify themselves. As modern followers of Christ, we use the acronym FISH to mean: For Immediate Sympathetic Help. Our all-volunteer organization, provides immediate short-term help for people in temporary difficulty. FISH provides financial and food assistance to their clients who live on the edge—most can manage the routine but not the unusual. FISH assists:

  • To stabilize living arrangements

  • To help people to weather the storms of life and become independent again

  • To provide food and clothes to those needing them

FISH has no physical office or paid staff. The FISH cadre of loyal and willing volunteers contribute thousands of hours of help to those living in the greater Fairfax City area.  Primarily, the zip codes of 22030, 22031, and 22032 are supported by Fairfax FISH.

View our annual report here: 

Early History

Six years before the start of the local group, the first FISH was organized in Oxford, England.  The Woodson Area Christians was the precursor to beginning Woodson FISH in 1967. Six years later, they changed their name to Fairfax FISH, and two more churches joined.  Tax exempt status came with Virginia incorporation in 1975.  The partnership formed in 1986 with the Fairfax County Human Services Department has served the community well.  Three years later, a similar organization, FOCUS, stopped its services, and eight more churches joined FISH.  In 1994, FISH was accepted for the National Capitol Area United Way Campaign.

Fish Success

FISH is making a difference in people’s lives.  The all-volunteer, non-profit organization operates with an incredibly low overhead of less than 8 percent (most of which is for a required audit).

The primary success of Fairfax FISH is due to its volunteers and supporting churches.

Women Holding Hands


Contributions to FISH’s success are:

  • Member churches providing budget funds.

  • United Way/Combined Federal Campaign participation.

  • Fairfax County community assistance grant funds

  • Gasoline provided through two service stations: Fairfax Circle Sunoco and Main Street Shell.

  • Fair City Mall coat drive.

  • Fairfax County Retirees Association clothing and food drives.

  • Donations of surplus inventory from local consignment stores.

  • Many generous financial contributions and clothing donations from individuals.

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