Blue Marlin Grand Championship prize fish donated to help feed Baldwin County

What happens to the winning fish from the greatest show in sportfishing? It goes back to the community.

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 7/28/22

FOLEY — Although only two blue marlins were brought back to be entered into the Blue Marlin Grand Championship at The Wharf, the 1,125 total pounds of fish were donated to help feed those in need around Baldwin County.

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Blue Marlin Grand Championship prize fish donated to help feed Baldwin County

What happens to the winning fish from the greatest show in sportfishing? It goes back to the community.

Posted

FOLEY — Although only two blue marlins were brought back to be entered into the Blue Marlin Grand Championship at The Wharf, the 1,125 total pounds of fish were donated to help feed those in need around Baldwin County.

The prize fish have traditionally been donated to food banks, but that process was recently taken over by the E&E Dantin Foundation, where the haul that was caught and weighed in Baldwin County stays in Baldwin County through a partnership with the South Baldwin Christian Church and Blessing Box Pantry.

The Dantin Foundation – a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization – just celebrated its first anniversary, but Elisha and Emily Dantin's skills are not limited to fish cleaning.

"When you serve the Lord by serving others, that can look like a lot of different things," Emily Dantin said Sunday morning. "It could be cleaning fish on the weekends, or it could be building a wheelchair ramp, or it could be going to the grocery store for somebody or cleaning out a garage; there's endless amounts of things that are able to be done that are such a huge blessing."

Sunday morning was the fish cleaning party where around 30 volunteers showed up to help process the pair of nearly 600-pound blue marlins to be handed out both by the E&E Dantin Foundation and at the food pantry.

Emily said nearly 1,500 people benefited from the blue marlins caught at last year's tournament and the partnership with the food pantry all but secures a similar impact this year. That was just part of her informational presentation to the crowds that followed the fish from the scales to the trailer that it would be hauled away in.

"We can use that for an educational experience, it's a time to let them know how many people this will feed," Emily said. "I know I had mentioned it a couple of times while people were gathering that this is going to feed 500 to up to 1,000 families here in Baldwin County and everybody was just shocked, 'How cool is that?' We're going to use these fish from the sportfishing tournament and turn them around and bless the community to get fresh food on dinner plates."

It comes at a time where the need is certainly present, according to Joni Corbett, a pantry volunteer. Just in May, she said the pantry helped serve around 1,100 families which included 500 children and 100 seniors.

"All 1,500 people that came through our food pantry benefited from it (last year). We get the largest percentage because we have the facility for all of it," Corbett said. "We have a full freezer chest full of bagged marlin and just about every family that comes through our pantry is going to want some."

The choice pantry also has locations in Orange Beach and Bay Minette where they offer other ingredients to make a full meal.

"The strain of these challenging times and costs to our neighbors, forcing them to sacrifice one basic need over another which often leaves them without healthy foods, seriously impacts all of us involved in the pantry," Corbett said. "Personally, I have done a lot of charity work in my life, but to see the community come together in such a way to feed the invisible food insecurity in Baldwin County is really touching and it's really with deep thanks and heartfelt gratitude to everyone that partners, donates, volunteers and contributes to make this an overwhelming success at feeding our local community."

Simply giving back to his community and helping his neighbors was a driving force behind the creation of the E&E Dantin Foundation, Elisha said.

"I was born and raised in Fairhope, lived up and down 59 most of my life. I went to Robertsdale, went to Loxley, my parents divorced when I was 14 so I moved to Louisiana for a while, went to high school over there," Elisha said. "But I'm here to stay. We started a foundation, that's not something you can just pick up and move so we're here to stay. I plan on trying to impact Baldwin County as much as I can with the knowledge I have, the finances I have and the equipment I have. We are limited so anybody that's willing to help us financially would really kick off a lot of stuff, there is some equipment we really need that would help me be able to do things faster."

A zero-turn lawnmower and a truck were among the items the foundation is aiming for in the near future and Elisha said all of the donations go directly toward helping the community.

"Every bit of their money will be accounted for; everybody knows where it goes. I'm not trying to make money off this, not trying to get rich, just trying to give back to the community at the same time trying to get the proper equipment and help we need," he said. "It's something the Lord led us directly to and I don't plan on backing out any time soon. It has been a rough road, I never thought I'd be this far into a foundation – never saw myself running a foundation much less – but here I am and I don't plan on giving it up any time soon."

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