RG 176: Records of Arlington County FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help), 1967-2000

Collection Number
RG 176
The organization FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help) was founded by church members in Oxford, England in 1961. The purpose of the organization is to provide short term emergency assistance to neighbors in need such as: information and referral, assistance with transportation and essential errands, emergency baby-sitting, emergency housekeeping, financial assistance, and handling suicide calls.

North Arlington FISH began as a cooperative program of the North Arlington Parish Council in 1966. The first five churches to participate were: Christ United Methodist, Little Falls United Presbyterian, Rock Spring Congregational, St. Peter’s Episcopal, and Walker Chapel Methodist. Many other churches have participated in North Arlington FISH since its inception. South Arlington FISH was founded in 1969 and shared a newsletter, Fishnet, and an answering service with North Arlington FISH.
Scope and Content
Record Group 176 is made up entirely of textual materials, including publications and correspondence created by FISH. The Miscellaneous FISH Papers File (in Series 1) includes correspondence with church members and others concerning volunteer staffing and a 1999 news article about changes to the program, as well as brochures and anecdotes about services provided in the program. The Board Minutes and Fishnet provide information about day to day activities, banquets and dinners, statistics, participating people and churches, and changes in policies and social services. The date range for the collection is 1967 to 2000, but the bulk dates from 1980 to 1995. This collection measures .4 linear feet.

The FISH volunteer manuals provide a comprehensive overview of the kind of social services performed by FISH from the late 1960's to the mid 1990's. The manuals also contain lists of participating churches and Arlington County and non-profit organizations providing social services. The North Arlington FISH Manual, November 1983, pp. 4-1 to 4-3, includes a geographical listing and hand drawn map of volunteer organizations similar to FISH in Arlington County, the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County. Special arrangements with other organizations and businesses are mentioned as well.
Arrangement and Description
Record Group 176 is arranged into four series based on originating organization, splitting material into FISH as a regional organization (Series 1), North Arlington FISH (Series 2), South Arlington FISH (Series 3) and material generated by both organizations working together (Series 4). Arrangement within each series is by type of material and then chronological. Folder titles were created by the processing archivist due to unlabeled and unfiled materials in the original donation.
This collection was donated in 2009 by Mr. Donald Hall, a member of North Arlington FISH.
There are no research restrictions on Record Group 176.
Related Collections
For more information on local churches, see RG 6, Arlington County Churches, and on one of North Arlington FISH’s founding members, see RG 123, Rock Spring Congregational Church Records.