Friday, November 29, 2013

NK Fishline Welcomes Our New Floor Manager: Sean Wescott

Being raised with a family that was active in church and community events, I grew up in a culture of volunteering.  From my youngest days as a cub scout and in the youth group of my church I have been taking part in helping out anyway that I could.  My volunteer ‘career’ began as a teenager when my mother opened an office for Habitat for Humanity in our community.  I helped her prepare the space that was to be the office, and once we were functional I took part as a volunteer.  I was the coordinator making endless phone calls to solicit help for projects, and I also made the lunches for the work crews.  When my Pastor stepped down from the Board of Directors two years later, he tapped me as his replacement.  So from a young age I had the privilege of working closely with community leaders as a Board Member and the Volunteer Liaison for the University.  I have also worked for Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Heart Association, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Progressive Animal Welfare Society, providing data entry and other office support such as setting up and maintaining electronic and hard copy filing systems.  It was all very rewarding work. 

At the Court of Honor for my Eagle Scout award they made it clear that upon receiving this honor I was a ‘marked man’, with a moral imperative help others at all times.  That directive has led me on all kinds of crazy adventures that if ever you want to talk story I am happy to share.  My family also has ministers on both sides of my bloodline, so it is no great surprise that a couple of years ago I began to get the calling from God myself.  In recent times I have been working on my own ministering to and providing help for those in need.  In fact, I was searching for a place to focus my time working to help the disenfranchised of our society, and so I am very happy to have joined the team here a Fishline, since that is exactly what I get to do.  Other pet projects of mine are Women’s rights and the Church of Sacred Motherhood, which is a new church based on the internet.  When I am not doing anything else, I like to work on music, cook, write, go for hikes in our gorgeous woods, and take road trips. 

I am so happy that I am here now working with all of you on this momentous project.  The work you do here is changing the world, pouring out healing to so many ravaged by the side effects of our tattered economy and a world full of fear.  There are so many volunteers at Fishline that it warms my heart to see you all, and to watch what a well-oiled machine you have in place.  With so many working so hard for one cause, it is hard to imagine any kind of limitations to what we can accomplish together.  Thank you all for making me feel at home with your pleasant demeanor and upbeat attitude.  I want you to know that you are each one an inspiration, and I look forward to working with you all as we take North Kitsap Fishline to the next level of growth – and beyond!

Sean Wescott
Floor Manager, NK Fishline

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fishline is in Need of Contractors! Can You Help?

We are mere days away from ownership of our new facility – while we are handling the paperwork, there is concurrent effort underway to design and schedule work needed to make the building usable for our food bank.  We have a general contractor, but every bit of donated time, expertise or materials we can invite will help our costs go down.  But we also expect to pay for some of the work, so if you know of professionals who can offer their services for reduced cost, please let us know of them as well.

So, here’s what we need:

Plumbing Contractor – the highest priority.  We need to submit plumbing plans to the City as soon as we are able.  If you know of a contractor, please pass this information to us by Monday.

Electrical Contractor – also important but not an urgent timeline.  We would like your recommendations as soon as possible, but will accept them as late as next Friday.

Construction Materials – Sinks, faucets, wood, drywall, anything like this would help keep our costs down.

Sweat Equity – Do you want to help remove market carpet and finish the floors?  Does it sound like fun to demolish the side building we don’t need anymore?  Want to help us move?  Would you like to help organize the move? Let us know and we can include you on our project teams.

Email us with questions or if you need clarification.  Thank you for your recommendations and for your help.  This is a historic moment for Fishline, and I’m so glad we are all a part of it.

Mary Nader, 

Executive Director

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas Child Program

The Christmas Child program allows parents to create a personal wish list of gifts that would bring the most joy to their children during the holiday season.  The gift tag process allows parents (or children) to list three wants and three needs specific to that child's interests, hobbies, and abilitites. An individual or group may sponsor this child by purchasing at least three items from the child's list. The wish lists are then distributed via "Tag Trees" at area businesses. Sponsors choose a tag, purchase the items, place them in one big bag, ATTACH THE TAG, and return the marked bag to the business. 
The following businesses have agreed to host "Tag Trees" in 2013:
Liberty Bay Books
North Kitsap Herald
Modern Dentistry
Dahlquist Fine Jewelry
Sugar and Spice Tea Shop
Bank of America
First Security Bank
Poulsbo Athletic Club
Sport Haus
Hostmark Apts
Peninsula Paint
Crimson Cove Smoked Specialties
North Point Church
Marina Market Poulsbo
First Lutheran Church
American Rose Bridal
Animal Emergency and Trauma Center
Jak’s CafĂ©
Poulsbo Yacht Club
Key Bank
La Bella Vita Salon
Peninsula Credit Union
Toy Drives are currently being held at the following locations:
Vinland Elementary School
St Olaf’s Church
Poulsbo City Hall
Poulsbo Lions Club
Enjoy the following discounts with your toy donation:
Mike’s Car Wash is giving $2 off a gold wash with a toy donation and a free wash (any level) with a $50 or more cash or check donation.
Program Guidelines:
  • Businesses or others agree to host a gift tag tree by mid November.

  • Gift tag trees need to be provided by businesses and be in place by the last week in November to allow people to shop on Black Friday.

  • Fishline will supply coded gift tags to each site prior to set up date and replenish as needed

  • Sponsors will choose a gift tag and go shopping.

  • Purchased items are returned to the business.  Gifts should be UNWRAPPED in ONE BAG with the TAG ATTACHED to the bag

  • Gifts will be picked up from tag tree sites by Christmas Child Organizers if needed

  • If you are participating as a sponsor in the Christmas Child Program in 2013, all gifts are due back to the tag tree site no later than December 7th.

Please contact our Christmas Child organizers Jeannie Benton and Sue Paskell by email at (or call Raelenea Rodriguez at (360) 779-5190).  We are happy to answer any questions you might have about the Christmas Child Program. 
We are still accepting anonymous donations of new toys and are happy to supply you with a box.  Toy drives are equally appreciated.  These toys will be used for children who have not been sponsored.  This program is not in any way related to "Operation" Christmas Child.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Building a Home Where Hunger Has No Place

Much conversation has been going on recently about the cut backs in SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps. Effective the first of this month, 1184 households in Poulsbo were affected by these changes. Hearing concerns expressed on both sides of this issue and reading the many commentaries, one realizes that there continues to be some ambiguity about who is food insecure in our country and how they became so.

Being on the front line of our region's war on hunger, Fishline witnesses the real stories and lives that are usually talked about in generalizations when broaching this topic. We see the overwhelming reluctance that most new clients feel when they first come to Fishline. When new clients enter into our front market, a grocery-store like environment, we see their fears melt away, replaced with obvious relief that shows all over their faces. Volunteers tell each other about the extraordinary expressions of gratitude they witness, some so heartfelt that it can't help but change you. Just last week, a client began to cry when thanking the checkout volunteer for the meat that is rarely available in our front market.

These are reactions one cannot fake - they happen unexpectedly, perhaps the result of a long time of trying to be strong and not be afraid. The reality that most working poor families face is one of continuous pressure. Days are spent thinking of ways to make a meager income keep up with the climbing cost of living. Nights are spent tossing and turning because the potential for homelessness and hunger is real. For those looking for work, every unanswered job application or interview that doesn't end with an offer just exacerbates the sinking depression that seems most alive and well at 3 am.

When a little source of relief, such as meat available in the front market, comes your way, you feel a little hope that things might work out after all. But when you get home, the pile of bills await you, and the worry begins again.

One of our volunteers took on an intriguing and courageous experiment because of the compassion she feels for the clients she sees every day. She and her husband would decide to live the entire month of November on a budget they'd receive were they to apply for food stamps, augmented by shopping at Fishline. She is blogging about what she learns while walking in the shoes of our clients. Already in the first week, she finds herself having to give up some ofher favorite items, like coffee and beef, and trying every low-cost recipe she can to stretch their budget. She spends hours each day looking for the lowest cost items and trying to assemble meals that are not filled with empty, cheap carbs and sweets. What she has experienced will remind you that no one would choose this if they had other options.

For her, this struggle will soon be left behind. She will feel the relief that comes when she resumes her normal life of shopping at the Farmer's Market and Central with a renewed appreciation for the hardships of our clients. We pray that, for the thousands of neighbors who live in poverty, they can someday feel that same relief.

Until then, it will fall upon providers like Fishline to fill the gap that results from the cut backs like those affecting SNAP. Our lines will grow longer, and we will try to feed many more people more often. October was our busiest month on record, and the holidays will likely see unprecedented numbers of families needing our help. We ask that you donate generously to Fishline. Our community must rally if it is to remain a home where hunger has no place.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fishline Celebrates November's Community Partner: Liberty Bay Auto

When entering town from Finn Hill, it's hard to miss Liberty Bay Auto.  Sitting on the right side, it's cheery sign always shares great messages that make everyone smile.  This past few weeks they used their sign space to capture the attention of all those passing to invite others to join them in their Hunger Heroes Mission to "Fill the Truck!"  This carefully planned out food drive kicked off our holiday food collection efforts and we couldn't be more thankful for the result.

For two weeks Liberty Bay Auto not only committed their coveted and high profile sign space, they set up a great display in their showroom, held an after-hours event with Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce, advertised for Fishline on their leaderboard on North Kitsap Herald's website, and as if that wasn't enough -- they matched all of the food donations that filled their truck, pound for pound! Total delivered to Fishline:  965 lbs!

Thank you Liberty Bay for all your phenomenal efforts as a Hunger Hero! By utilizing all the resources available to you to publicize and promote your food drive event, you've set the bar for our Hunger Hero campaign and we have chosen you as NK Fishline's Community Partner of the Month!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This MONTH'S Most Needed Items: Holiday Foods!

We receive many requests all year round -- "what do you need the most at Fishline?"  During this time period, the answer is:  Holiday Food Items! Please use the following list when shopping for items to donate to those in need in our community! Turkeys and hams can be dropped off at Fishline; all other non-perishable items can be dropped off at a number of locations, including Albertson's and Central Market, or any of the ongoing food drives in our community. Click here to visit our calendar and to see where those are happening near you!

Turkeys and Hams 
Chicken Broth 
Cranberry Sauce 
Canned Yams/Sweet Potatoes 
Canned Fruits 
Canned Vegetables 
Stuffing Mix 
Peanut Butter
Progresso/Hearty Soups 
Boxed Meals
Vegetable Oil