Project FIN (Friends In Need)

A portion of proceeds from every shirt we sell helps fund Project FIN.
There are approximately 11,000 individuals that face unsheltered homelessness in the state of Florida. No shelter means they have virtually no protection from the harmful UV rays our sun produces, and puts them at a much higher risk for extreme sun exposure. Most of us are able to enjoy AC, unlimited access to fresh water, and shaded shelters. But our homeless friends who do not have any form of shelter face the risks of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and worst of all, skin cancer.
Our way of giving back to the community is with an initiative we're calling Project FIN (FIN stands for Friends In Need), to provide sun protective shirts to our homeless friends in Florida.
Project FIN officially launched May 1, 2021 at the International Female Ride Day For The Homeless event at Brandon Harley-Davidson, with our first batch of shirts going to Tampa Homeless Outreach.
In addition, as of May 1, a portion of the proceeds from every ShapeShifter Fish and Friends shirt we sell will go towards Project FIN, to continue to provide shirts to the homeless community.
Since May, and the purchases from our supportive community and customers, we have been able to donate additional batches of shirts to our Friends In Need of downtown St. Petersburg, and recently donating to our new friends at Reach St. Pete.
Why Project FIN:
Being that we are a brand who features many animals, other charities probably seem more obvious. But the idea for Project FIN was created from a personal relationship with a local homeless man named Gary. Gary has lived in a wheelchair in our neighborhood since we moved here in 2018, and through the years we've provided meals, blankets, umbrellas, clothing, hats, and most importantly, friendship. But in late 2020, Gary disappeared and we had no way of finding out what had happened to him or where he went. We figured it was one of two things, always hoping it was on the positive side.
So we were shocked when Gary reappeared 2 months ago in his wheelchair in his usual spot, using a neck brace as a hat. Gary unfortunately didn’t leave because he found a permanent home, he was in the hospital that whole time with SKIN CANCER. It seems so obvious now, but before we didn’t realize how big of an issue this is with the homeless community, and how little the disease is addressed and talked about.
As an owner of a company who provides sun protective clothing, it was almost fate as to what we were supposed to do next. Thus, the creation of Project FIN. Our goal with this initiative is to bring awareness to the risk of skin cancer to our Friends In Need, encourage more free public skin checks, and help personally combat the disease by providing sun protective clothing to the Florida homeless community.
If you'd like to donate to Project FIN or discuss possible partnerships, please email us at info@ssfishandfriends.com and add Project FIN to the subject line.