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FISH (For Immediate and Sympathetic Help)

Mission: Middleburg FISH provides temporary financial assistance to our neighbors in need in the greater Middleburg community. 

Areas we serve: Western Loudoun County west of Route 15 (not including Leesburg)and northern Fauquier County​

How it works: FISH volunteer telephone operators answer and qualify calls

from individuals requesting assistance. The caller's information is then sent to our FISH treasurer for review. The treasurer makes a determination if FISH can help and the level of help we can provide. This information is sent to the operator who then calls the individual with the details.​

Guidelines & Volunteers

Guidelines:  Middleburg FISH helps with rents, utilities, some medical costs, and medicine. Payments are made directly to the landlord or utility company, not to the individual caller. Because the nature of our financial help is temporary, callers are limited to receiving help once every six months. Annually, FISH helps approximately 150 families in our community.

Middleburg FISH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run solely by volunteers. All contributions are tax deductible. Twenty operators answer calls for assistance Monday through Friday. Emmanuel Church assists in coordinating the telephone operators.  We are very grateful to receive support from churches in our community as well as donations from individuals and foundations.


Volunteers: Middleburg FISH welcomes volunteers and invites new volunteer telephone operators to get in touch with us. No experience necessary--a brief information session will send you on your way! For more information please contact Martha Cotter, The Big Fish:

Our History

  • The FISH movement began in England in 1961 as an all-volunteer group of Christians expressing practical love and concern

      for their neighbors.

  • All chapters are local, and no two are the same. There is no central organization or headquarters.

  • Middleburg FISH was started in 1965 by Rene Llewellyn, who also began Seven Loaves Food Bank and Windy Hill Foundation. Rene was joined by Peg Low as Treasurer, Florence Kaye as Newsletter Editor, and Nancy Manierre, who became “The Big Fish” when Rene retired. 

  • Middleburg FISH is non-denominational and helps all qualified callers. 

  • Current Board members: Jennifer Austell, Martha Cotter, President; Holly Beth Hatcher, The Rev. Gene LeCouteur, and Len Shapiro.

To Request Assistance

call 540-687-8771

between 9 am and 4 pm


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