Project FIN (Friends In Need)

A portion of proceeds from every sale helps fund Project FIN.
As of 2022, there are over 25,000 individuals that face homelessness in the state of Florida, and over half are unsheltered. 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, 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 called Project FIN (FIN stands for Friends In Need), to provide sun protective shirts to our homeless friends in Florida.
New for October: We've expanded our charitable outreach with a program near and dear to our hearts called SHECANcer.org. A portion of proceeds from September and October will go towards donating UPF shirts to cancer patients going through Chemotherapy.
SHECANcer.org Sun Protective Shirts
In June of this year, Maria our Founder, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The first thing the doctor said to her was "when starting Chemotherapy, you can't go outside due to the extreme photo sensitivity to the sun." But being well-versed in how to practice safe sun (and owning a sun protective wear company) Maria replied with "YES I CAN!"
After much research into sun protection for cancer patients, Maria found there was a need for quality UPF clothing geared toward women in her same situation. She also wanted to remind them it isn't a CANTcer diagnosis, and doing what you love is still possible - and in many cases that means going outside. Thus, the creation of SHECANcer.org, quality sun protection in our signature pinks and purple, for those Friends In Need going through chemotherapy.
Also coming in October, for those who want to support our cause and fellow cancer fighters, thrivers and survivors, SHECANCer sun shirts wil be available for sale at SHECANcer.org. 
Project FIN background: We 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. Since May 1, a portion of the proceeds from every ShapeShifter Fish and Friends sale helps fund Project FIN, to continue to provide shirts to the homeless community.
 
Over this past year, with 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, including our friends at Reach St. Pete, Pinellas Hope, Homeless Leadership Alliance of Pinellas County, and Meet Me in the Streets Ministry.
         ShapeShifter Fish and Friends Project FIN Friends In Need Homeless Initiative
Pinellas Hope | Project FIN | Homeless | St Pete | Pinellas County
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.