Friday, November 7, 2014

A Beautiful Song That Fills Our Hearts

Every once in a while, I would enter my predecessor’s office while she was still our director, and she would reverently whisper, “Do you hear that?”

At first, I was confused by her question. There was a lot of noise at Fishline, that was for sure, as volunteers were shuffling food in and out of the market, clients were shopping, children in various stages of not-so-patient waiting. 

But she reminded me, “If you listen with your heart, you will hear a wonderful hum. It may seem like chaos, but there are times when everything is moving smoothly that you can really feel the positive energy, the contentment, and joy of a shared mission. That is the hum you hope for every day.”
I have since learned to hear that hum. Even in our little building on 3rd Avenue, with its crowded corridors and tiny market, people found a way to work and shop together with grace and courtesy. 

The hum is louder now that we’ve moved into a larger facility with its many more moving parts.  With double the number of volunteers and a growing number of client visits each day, there is a whir of energy and activity that impresses every visitor. At the food bank alone, 12-15 volunteers are needed for each shift, and they move with enthusiasm and order, surprised at the way that simple chores can be so intoxicating. 

Perhaps it is in the shopping experience that the hum is noticed the most.  Our lighter, more spacious store setting has contributed to a relaxing and uplifting environment that everyone can feel. Volunteers chat with grateful clients, donors stop by throughout the day to drop off their offerings and to visit for a while, others come to consult with onsite employment specialists or to attend a seminar. 

Sometimes, just a chance to connect with good people can dissolve the loneliness so many feel in their lives. We understand more than ever that we have an opportunity to nourish people in ways beyond the daily bread we start with.

Helpers often tell us how taken aback they were to learn how strong and impactful the return on this investment can be. They could never have predicted the feeling of joining in this age-old dance, the beautiful result of charity starting at home. It is an experience like no other. 

“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

James Barrie, the author who created Peter Pan, once said, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” We see evidence of this maxim every day.  We come, thinking we are here to help others, and we find out that we are the ones who receive the greatest gifts. The difficult life situations our clients face can transform into bonding experiences that draw us closer as a community and open the way to mutual fulfillment and purpose. 

I now believe this hum is a sign that we have uncovered one of the paths to true happiness and peace of mind: When we help each other, we help ourselves, and the universe conspires to turn that energy into a beautiful song that fills our hearts.

~ Mary Nader, Executive Director, NK Fishline 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fishline Brings Hope in the Form of SOS: Stability, Opportunity, and Success

After two years of unemployment frustrations Debbie's once calm and capable husband had a mental breakdown. He struck out at her and the children and this resulted in a court restraining order. As the family spun out of control Debbie's oldest daughter just now turning 18 shared the news - her unexpected pregnancy. On top of that Debbie's youngest child her 6 year old son was struggling in school with disabilities which seemed to increase with every new family challenge.

Flash forward several months later to a family still on the brink of disintegration. Having always relied on her spouse to keep the finances afloat Debbie now had to maintain her home on her SSI payments alone. Her now very pregnant daughter applied for state assistance and received an additional $238.00 per month but the home they had rented faithfully for the past 5 years was now in eviction status.

She did not know what else she could do. She had held up the mountain for as long as she could. There was no one to turn to and no relatives to help. Now with her daughter's pregnancy due date in just two short weeks the family would find themselves homeless.

They came to Fishline for help. Upon reviewing their finances it was determined that they could afford to stay in the home if they could just get caught up - they were about $800.00 behind in rent and several hundred in utility bills. A referral was made to our partner agency St Vincent de Paul who covered all the utilities and Fishline was able to access the Housing Scholarship funds to cover the $800.00 in back rent.

Providing services to people like Debbie is not a new concept for Fishline, however we have come to understand that meeting the emergency needs of clients, while noble, is no longer enough to survive our current economic downturn and job losses. Fishline is going a step further by incorporating services that offer our community members the stability to weather a crisis, the opportunity to grow themselves out of poverty, and the real sense of personal success.

We call this new approach the SOS Program, SOS recognized as a call for help is becoming a beacon of hope. Our version of SOS stands for Stability, Opportunity and Success.

Our hope is to interrupt, at least a little bit, the cycle of poverty and dependency and help people achieve their potential. The program achieves its goals by personal and holistic interviews with new clients, an informative resource room, visiting on-site consultants, enrichment classes and community building groups.

Debbie and her daughter needed a hand up. They are now attending budgeting classes together. The daughter is attending parenting classes and utilizing WIC resources in order to be the best new Mom she can be. The family is engaged in supportive counseling and they are anxious to pay it forward whenever they are able to gain financial footing. She and her family are forever grateful for the Housing Scholarship Program and the stability it is affording them. But most importantly they are thrilled to be able to provide a safe and nurturing environment for her beautiful new granddaughter whose middle name will be Hope.

When clients have been supported and have worked hard at finding their own successful outcomes they become a catalyst for community growth. Thank you, our donors, supporters, and clients for teaching us how to work together to grow our community in positive and life changing ways.

This post was written by our Client Services Advocate, Rae Rodriguez and published in the print edition of the North Kitsap Herald on Friday, July 25th. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Working Together Towards the Day When No One is Hungry or Homeless

The efforts to increase the minimum wages in Sea-Tac and Seattle shed light on a problem that most communities have been experiencing in recent years. For many on the low end of the income scale, wages are not keeping up with costs, forcing hard-working families to work longer hours and more jobs, yet still finding themselves falling behind. 

An increasing number of families are having to face the painful reality that, even though they are working those long hours and making many sacrifices, their budget numbers are just not adding up. Increasing costs of living are not being compensated for in their paychecks. Each month, there is less discretionary income and less room for unexpected bills. 

This problem of diminishing buying power becomes stark and real when you take a moment to do the math. Even a dollar or two above minimum wage will bring in just enough to pay prevailing rental costs for the least expensive of our housing options. By the time you add the cost of utilities, gasoline and health care insurance, the only course of action is to find another job. Winter utility bills, the cost of day care and the increasing cost of food can't be covered without extra income. 

We hear these stories of survival from our clients every day. After all the necessary bills are paid, there is just not enough money to buy food. Eligibility for SNAP food stamp benefits excludes most working families because their meager incomes are above the maximum requirement to qualify. So having access to nutritious food at Fishline is, for some, life saving. Their shelves would be empty without it. But also concerning is the relentless pressure that so many families feel - as one client recently put it, "I just want to have a life when not every week is a financial struggle." 

At Fishline, we work hard to keep families safe and secure during a life crisis while also offering regular access to nutrition for those living in persistent poverty. We can help stretch a family's budget, at least temporarily, easing the daily tensions. But is there more we can do? 

Addressing a grave concern that 42% of children raised in poverty will live adult lives in poverty, more organizations like Fishline are shifting their focus from crisis intervention to crisis avoidance and long-term potential by offering those who are in need options before the crisis occurs, increasing avenues for opportunity and education and supporting those who wish to further their own security by going to school or learning a new trade. 

Access to living-wage jobs is the most important key to breaking the cycle of poverty, but the reality is that there are not enough of these jobs for everyone. The number of applicants for any decent job is poignant proof of that. Perhaps the more revolutionary approach would be to make all jobs living-wage jobs, certainly one of the motivating factors behind the push to increase the minimum wage in Seattle. 

Until that day comes, we must find other ways to offer opportunity and financial stability for all citizens. This age-old problem is not unsolvable, but like most perplexing problems, it is best approached gradually. To buck macroeconomics, and take control locally to create a different and more just economic dynamic, won't be easy. That shouldn't stop us from trying. 

Voltaire once said, "No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking." Keeping the thinking going, and drawing out the good ideas of our neighbors then gathering support to move them forward, is the inspiration behind our free community viewing of "A Place at the Table". It is a compelling documentary that highlights the struggles of three families, while "showing how the issue could be solved forever, once the American public decides—as they have in the past—that ending hunger is in the best interests of us all." Join us on June 29 from 3 to 5 o'clock at North Point Church, watch the movie, and join us for the community discussion that will follow. 

It might just be that the economy of the future will change from the grassroots, organically driven by inventive, inspired local communities creating the world they want for their children. That kind of power is available to all of us and can move mountains. Creating a future where no one is hungry or homeless is surely worth the effort.

Friday, June 13, 2014

North Kitsap Fishline and Kitsap Quilters Begin Commemorative Quilt Project

Miss West Sound Megan McCormick poses with our Quilting Project and Fundraiser.

 North Kitsap Fishline and Kitsap Quilters Begin Commemorative Quilt Project

North Kitsap Fishline and Kitsap Quilters will be working together to create a commemorative quilt to be displayed in the lobby of the new Fishline building and at other community events throughout the year.  The quilt will give tribute to Fishline’s growth, recent move, and continued community support throughout the years.

Area individuals, families, organizations and businesses are invited to take part in this project by donating a quilt square that will be incorporated into the commemorative quilt and embroidered with your family, group or business name or logo. 

We are requesting a $100 donation for individuals and families and a $250 donation for businesses for one quilt square.  The handmade 8ft by 10ft quilt will have limited squares available.  

The donations for the quilt will go towards the resource room at North Kitsap Fishline’s new building. This resource room will give clients access to computers, classes, learning materials, and other resources that will allow Fishline to continue to give support, provide opportunity, and ensure success for members of our community in need.

The quilt squares will be offered for sale first to Fishline’s volunteers and community partners, and then available for purchase at Please contact today with questions or to reserve your quilt square today.

Visit our website at or our Facebook page at  for details about our programs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FLASH FOOD DRIVE: Help us reach our goal of 5,000 lbs of food by June 15th!

On the Saturday before Mother’s Day each year, area food banks anticipate the Stamp Out Hunger food drive as its primary way to fill the shelves for the long summer of need.

This year, the Stamp Out Hunger bags that typically go with the cards into your mailbox, and serve as a great reminder to give, were not delivered as planned. Our Post Office did not receive the bags for distribution and couldn’t resolve the problem in time for the food drive.
The result was a staggering drop in donations from previous years. Though the numbers are not in yet, we expect that we will have received only about 30 percent of last year’s drive totals.

Entering into this time of year without the food support that we anticipated is worrisome and can mean that Fishline will run out of food in June instead of August or September.

We hope that we can rally the support of our community and find a way to replace the donations that were missed during this important drive. If you normally donate during Stamp Out Hunger and did not have the opportunity this past weekend, please fill a bag to help feed a family now.  You can drop off your bags at our new location at 787 Liberty Lane NW (off Viking Avenue) or at any of our dropboxes throughout town, including the ones at Central Market, Albertsons and Red Apple. 

Help us reach our goal of 5,000 pounds of food donations by June 15.
Our community has always made sure that we have enough to serve the neighbors who most need our help, and we know that this year will be no exception. Thank you to all those who donated during Stamp Out Hunger and to all those who will help us out this summer.

Mary Nader 
Executive Director, North Kitsap Fishline

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fishline Opens at New Location

Fishline customer Allen Alexander, of Poulsbo, shops for produce Tuesday. Photo by:  Larry Steagall

POULSBO — North Kitsap Fishline nearly doubled in size Tuesday morning when it opened the doors to its new Poulsbo location. The nonprofit, which provides food, housing assistance and other resources to community members in need, is now in the 5,500-square-foot building on Liberty Lane that once housed Poulsbo RV. The old location, along a one-way section of Third Avenue, was 3,100 square feet, according to Executive Director Mary Nader. The shopping market area for clients is three times bigger, going from 400 square feet to 1,200 square feet.

Before its 10 a.m. opening Tuesday, volunteers helped unload food trucks as the sun shined through windows from the bay doors brightening the market and nearby storage areas. While clients and volunteers rave about the building space and its cheery feel, clients are especially happy with the available parking. The old location had six parking spots, while the new site has at least 60 with room for loading trucks. “The parking is a big thing and the bathrooms for the little kids,” said Allen Alexander, a Fishline client. The Third Avenue location did not have a public restroom, but the new building has a restroom in the front lobby for clients as well as a second one for staff and volunteers.

Alexander, who volunteered at local food banks decades ago, now is retired and struggles to make his fixed Social Security income meet his basic needs, like many retirees, he said. He praised Fishline and its volunteers for making the smaller site, where it had been since 1999, work so well.

“We were really squeezed in before. We just worked around it together,” Alexander said.
Since 2008, Fishline has seen demand for services double, causing its former location to feel a little smaller each year. It serves about 130 families a day, distributing between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds of food.

“You were knocking into each other. It wasn’t (Fishline’s) fault. It was just so tiny,” said Nancy Satterlee, another Fishline client. “I think people are happier now.”

Nader acknowledged the physical limitations of the old site, which prompted the nonprofit’s move, she said.

It wasn’t just the market that was cramped. Office space was limited, and there was no place to meet privately with clients, Nader said. Food preparation areas were tight. Walkways were limited to one person at a time. Food had to be stored off-site at three locations and volunteers had to toss bags of potatoes and wheel boxes of onions out of the way before a staff meeting could take place.
Now, Fishline has administrative office space as well as meeting space for staff and clients.
The nonprofit also will be able to offer clients a resource center with computer and Internet access, Nader said.

This article was originally posted on Kitsap Sun. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

NK Fishline's Great Move is Complete, Now for the Kitsap Great Give

On Tuesday, May 6th NK Fishline will open it's doors to serve our clients for the first time at 787 NW Liberty Lane in Poulsbo.  The GREAT MOVE is complete, but there is still work to be done!From 12:00am to 11:59pm PST, on May 6th, we will be participating in the Kitsap Great Give. All donations made to NK Fishline during this event will be matched by a local matching pool, organized by Kitsap Community Foundation and a national matching pool, organized by Give Local America. This is a great way to make your donation to NK Fishline stretch even further!

Here's how to donate:
-Set a reminder on your calendar that says "Give to NK Fishline during the Kitsap Great Give, May 6th"

-On May 6th, starting at 12am until 11:59pm PST visit our Kitsap Great Give donation site by CLICKING HERE or copying and pasting the following link into your browser:
-Follow the prompts to donate!
*There are incentive prizes awarded to non-profit groups throughout the day, such as a $1000 prize for the group that receives the most donations before 9am!
Just some of the many reasons to give to NK Fishline:
  • Donations to Fishline come from the entire community, 74% come from individual donors.
  • 96% of donations go directly to client care. 
  • With the help of over 225 volunteers, NK Fishline untilizes these donations to distribute and provide much needed services to help stablize families. 
  • Since 1999, the year we moved to our 3rd Ave location, the number of household visits to NK Fishline has risen steadily.  In 2007, when the US recession began, that number tripled.  In 2013, we had 120 household visits per day.
In 2013:
  • 2, 078, 928 meals were distributed
  • 348 families received housing assistance
  • 306 households benefited from our support services

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NK Fishline's Future in a New Home

On May Day 2014, volunteers at North Kitsap Fishline Food Bank will flip its sign to “closed” one last time, surely to be a poignant and melancholy moment, and an era will end. For 15 years, our building on Third Avenue has been witness to the hopes and dreams, and the fears and tears, of thousands of neighbors who humbly came to its doors during the toughest times of their lives. This building gave its all to warmly greet its visitors, and we could swear that somehow its rooms expanded to meet the swell of demand that is part of every downward economic cycle. 

From a building the same size as an average home, millions of meals were distributed, thousands received help to keep their homes or to keep them warm, thousands more had holiday meals or birthday gifts for their children who would have otherwise gone without. From the nine household visits a day that were typical when we first opened on Third Avenue, our daily average is now 120. The amount of food, people and supportive services necessary to sustain that level of need has grown in proportion, requiring increases in storage capacity, refrigerated space, office space, and parking.

It is remarkable that we’ve been able to make it work as long as we have. Our staff and volunteers have been so resourceful and patient. Most remarkable, though, is the support of our loving community — they have always kept the food and donations flowing through good times and bad.

As well as this building has done its job, it could no longer contain this kind of growth and expansion. A larger, more suitable space was finally found which could host the exciting programs that only needed a little elbow room to grow. 

Our community then came together, and a vacant Poulsbo RV showroom transformed to the welcoming safe haven which would become its new destiny. Excitement began to build, and donations came in from contractors, construction suppliers and so many groups, businesses and individuals. Volunteers spent their Saturdays painting and cleaning, pulling weeds and running computer wire. Joining together to prepare for the new chapter of this important community provider has been uplifting and galvanizing. 

When we complete this move, Fishline will be able to reach for its highest potential. The grocery-store style market, previously squeezed into 400 square feet, will now have 1,200 square feet of open-air shopping. Personal, heart-wrenching conversations with clients can now take place in private. Client enrichment classes and seminars, impossible to consider because we didn’t even have a meeting room before, can now be held in our Resource Center, a space that will also contain computers for client use. Our ability to provide wraparound services will grow as we invite community experts in the fields of finance, nutrition, employment and health care to be available for clients in need of their guidance. 

We will miss our little building on Third Avenue. Many extraordinary memories took place there. Peoples’ lives were changed for the better every day we opened our doors. And, thanks to the unflagging commitment of so many caretakers of Fishline’s mission through these 47 years, progress was made toward the goal that has guided us from the start, a community free from hunger and homelessness. 

The magic and beauty which made these moments and this progress possible goes with us, in the hearts of our noble volunteers and dedicated staff, in the gratitude expressed every day by our clients, in the generosity and greatness of spirit of our community. These reminders of the goodness of humanity transcend time and place and will guarantee the safety of troubled neighbors for years to come.

This article was originally printed at Kitsap Sun's website and can be found here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

An Environment Where Promising Futures Can Grow

As we come closer to the move to our new facility, you can feel a new energy pulsing through the halls of our food bank on 3rd Avenue.  This is the energy of possibility, which partially comes about because ideas that have lied dormant in the minds and hearts of our staff and volunteers can now be explored. 

Without facility limitations, we now have permission to move into areas we believe will result in the best outcome for our clients.  You can only imagine how invigorating this is for the creative people who have come together so they can lift burdens and create opportunities.

But to truly implement programs that offer lasting benefit, we must be very clear about the dynamics of economic crisis, the root causes and what might be a way out of the varying downturns experienced by so many in our community.

So our Client Services Team has come together to learn, through surveys and follow up conversations with clients who've received our help, which of our services have had the greatest positive impact and where people continue to struggle.  Should Fishline offer a new branch of services?  Are clients telling us about plaguing issues that can be solved through greater community effort?  Can education be a key to promoting well being and breaking negative cycles?  These questions and more are being asked by skilled volunteers trained to draw out honest responses.

What we learn from these outcomes will turn into valuable planning tools.  Classes, already taking shape through discussions with community experts, can be organized and delivered through our new Resource Center, where people can learn about nutrition, employment techniques, smart budgeting and health and family care.  

Information resources can be offered to address the most commonly-experienced crisis contributors, such as foreclosures, health problems, unemployment and addictions.   Sometimes just learning about our own self-defeating patterns or limiting perceptions can prompt a shift to a more positive outlook, increasing odds for success.  Onsite consultants will be available to provide guidance in a confidential, safe environment - perhaps offering just the right advice to move an individual forward and restoring hope.

At the heart of this effort is a desire to go beyond our emergency services and provide supportive services, recognizing that client empowerment is the best way to open up possibilities.  In a world where change happens so quickly, and there seems to be a constant shuffling of job possibilities and economic challenges, most of us need friends or mentors to help us navigate our dizzying times.  Through this support, we will embody the Fishline mission, turning the S.O.S. request for help into a new S.O.S., Stability, Opportunity and Success.

It might not surprise you that many people think the name Fishline came from the old adage about teaching people to fish instead of giving them the fish, thereby feeding them for a lifetime.  Though that isn't the original premise of the name, we can surely make it so through these efforts...and bring about the possibilities for long-term prosperity that lie within every crisis.

Thanks to your support and your donations, this bright new horizon is unfolding for Fishline and the community it serves.  We hope that what can come from it is the fertile environment where promising futures can grow, the best outcome of all.

Learn more about our new building needs and how you can help by clicking here

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Village is Making a New Home Become a Reality

Photo Credit:  Nichole Connor
There is a popular adage, "It takes a village", that reminds us that there are some goals that cannot be reached alone. This has always been the case for Fishline, whose mission would be impossible to realize were it not for the legions of helping hands and hearts that everyday come together to lift the burdens of their neighbors. 

But that cooperative effort has risen to a new level as we prepare our new facility on Viking Avenue. From the start, the best and brightest in our community have come forward to offer assistance, services, materials and sweat equity. Nearly every day, individuals and organizations join the ranks of this rehabilitation army and, before our very eyes, an abandoned building is transforming. School kids join with local military groups, working side-by-side with families and church groups with one thing in common - a love for their community and a belief in the good work that Fishline represents.

Miles Yanick and Associates, Architect, has helped us put our dream onto paper and has gone ahead to pave the way with permits, regulations and feasibility. Sandy Wenberg donated her color expertise to help us create a color palate that is soothing for our clients and volunteers. Peninsula Paints has donated all the paint, no small donation when considering the tall walls that surround our market, and Chad Lyons Painting has donated the labor. Swift Plumbing will put in all our fixtures for free, which came to us at no cost because Ferguson Plumbing donated them.

And, in a nearly perfect confluence of events, a total remodel of Town and Country on Bainbridge Island will mean that Fishline can receive repurposed refrigeration and shelving and even possibly checkout equipment, making our grocery store design complete.

When we asked that technology be upgraded so we could use a progressive digital signage system to keep our clients informed while shopping, David Graves, our long-time IT volunteer, joined forces with a local Rotarian to fund the system and get it installed. And, when in the midst of all this activity, our precious van needed extensive repairs, Ken's Northwest Automotive did what they have done for years - they fixed it for free.

The Poulsbo Lions Club worked alongside Fishline volunteers to clear out years of scotch broom and other uninvited guests to renew the greenery. Hill Moving has donated pallet jacks and a forklift, standing ready to help us move when the time comes. And Tim Ryan Construction has overseen the project, donating materials and labor while working with our team to do the most work for the littlest cost. 

All of this coordination has been orchestrated by our MVP, Rick Lander (pictured above with a volunteer), who has masterfully and amiably mediated between Fishline and a sometimes baffling construction world to facilitate this huge project, keeping us on schedule and under budget.

In dozens of ways, our neighbors have come together to situate Fishline in a home that should meet its needs for decades to come. There is no way that we can adequately thank all those who have helped thus far and those who will help us in the months and years ahead. We just hope that, when we open Fishline on that happy day this Spring, our village can be proud that it made it possible.

Are you interested in being a part of this wonderful project? Click here to see project updates and how you can help!

how folks can get involved.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We Need Volunteers!! Can you help?!

There are several volunteer positions open at this time – please let us know if you or someone you know might be interested in helping us fill them.  You can fill out a volunteer application online by clicking here.

Drivers: Take on a single grocery store run or be a substitute.  All that’s needed is a clean driving record (less than 3 moving violations in the last 3 years).  Up early anyway?  Be a substitute for this early run!

Receptionists:  An ability to work well with clients and be comfortable with light computer work will make you the perfect receptionist.  We’ll train you so you’re able to fill in when there’s an opening.

Check-out: This is an opportunity to get to know our clients and see how happy they are to receive our help…we have a temporary opening on Monday mornings and a need for substitutes to fill in.

Food prep: We are light on Wednesday mornings and Mondays.  If you can help us either of those days, we’d be grateful.

Saturday at Second Season: It’s a busy day, so you’ll be able to enjoy being a part of this downtown boutique experience at its best. 

Thanks to you all for keeping us moving and serving.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Special Thank You to Our New Building Remodel Crew!

Photo Credit:  Nichole Connor
While our focus at NK Fishline is to provide food and emergency services to the community, we have spent a little over a month now on a very important project: our new building remodel. The new-to-us space will help to provide a much needed expansion from our current location, and allow us to work more efficiently, serve the community better and give more to those in need. 

Photo Credit:  Nichole Connor
Our call to the community has been for services and materials. Donated or discounted time and supplies enable Fishline to stay within a budget, and more importantly: gives members of the community a sense of ownership in the ongoing and completed project.


Photo Credit:  Nichole Connor
 A project of this magnitude could not be completed without a committed group of individuals. Finding time in your already busy schedules to give to such a worthy project deserves praise beyond words. While contributions are ongoing, we would like to thank the following businesses and people for their efforts so far:

Tim Ryan Construction
Rick Lander, oversees volunteers and materials
Swift Plumbing
Chad Lyons, Lyons Painting
Miles Yanick & Company, Architect

Sandy Wenberg, Color Specialist
Peninsula Paint, donated all the paint
The Hansen family and Jan and Neal Henson, all the scotch broom extraction
Bainbridge Island Disposal, donated use of a dumpster
Central Market, provided pizzas for work parties

Anne Alexander, donated grab bars for the bathroom
David Graves, Information Technology Implementation
Town and Country Market for the walk-in coolers
Jack Archer
Mark Wright
Glen Hanson
Matthew Brooke
Mike Regis
Les Fritch
Joanne Reno

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year Brings New Hope as Fishline Moves Forward with New Building Project

These are tearful times at Fishline. Not so much because we're sad - no, these are a different type of tears. They are the kind that Edgar Allen Poe most certainly had been thinking about when he wrote, "Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”

These are tears of joy that come by being a part of beauty, of kindness, of compassion beyond words. What invokes this kind of response is often spontaneous, freeing and even surprising. But it is a reaction that can be uplifting. We seem hardwired to want to feel these feelings, to witness some sort of proof of goodness and generosity in a world so often filled with bad news and reasons to worry.

Watching the progress we are making on readying our new food bank, the efforts and contributions of volunteers and contractors coming together to turn an abandoned RV dealership into a warm, respectful promise of better times for struggling neighbors, has had an impact upon us all. Staff, volunteers and other community members are feeling renewed and inspired by the way it is all coming together.

During a recent open house, when we invited clients to see our new facility, many were obviously experiencing awe and relief. Knowing that we were willing to take on this project to make things easier and more dignified for them brought authentic tears of gladness and gratitude.

One senior said, through his tears, "I've lived all my life taking care of myself and my family. There was a time when we were well off. But now, I'm 86 years old, my income is barely enough, and I couldn't afford food without Fishline. I am so thankful." Another woman, who is a home health care aid and shops for herself and her patient, said "I have always known that Fishline cares about me, about all of us. But this is such a better situation for us, we can park and shop whenever we need to, it is just beautiful."

When almost overwhelmed with generosity, the human instinct is to want to do something, find some way, to return the favor. One of the clients viewing our new space during the open house looked around and said, almost as a whisper to be overheard, "You're going to need painters. I'm a painter. Let me help." This client will join other members of our community offering their support, working side-by-side to help write the next chapter in Fishline's history.

We are humbled by the way so many have come forward to offer their labor, their donations and their support. But we are reminded by these donors that they receive a great gift by helping, a feeling of satisfaction like no other. When a donor recently came in with a year-end check, she toured the food bank and, by the end of the tour, her face was streaming with tears. To know that Fishline's services are offered with such respect for our client experience deeply affected her. It made her feel proud to have contributed to it - rightly so, because Fishline only offers what donors and supporters make possible.

We live in a world that can be confusing. In our hearts, we know there must be a way to assure a safe community where everyone has enough. We are frustrated when we hear that this is not always the case. But moments come in the darkest times, almost as if to remind us that along with that darkness is great potential for love, for hope and for the kind of tears that wash away fear. These are the pillars that hold up the house of Fishline, helping make our community a beauty of supreme development.

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 NK Fishline Client Re-Registration

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 8nd, NK Fishline will begin its annual client re-registration.  Each year, clients must verify their information such as address, contact info, family members and income.  This is to help ensure that the information we have for our clients is accurate. 

Clients, please note these re-registration requirements and allow a few extra minutes for the process.

Full-Service Clients:
Two forms of identification needed

Picture ID (Driver’s License, Military ID, Tribal Card)
Proof of local residency or employment
E.g., recent utility bill, DSHS paperwork, pay stub
Lease and mortgage paperwork are NOT valid proofs of residency
Note: If you are unable to provide proof of local residency or employment, you will be considered an “Out of Area” client until proof is provided to Fishline.
Out of Area Clients:
One form of identification needed

Picture ID (Driver’s License, Military ID, Tribal Card)
Thank you for your cooperation and patience! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Everyday Heroes

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, our Executive Director, had issues with her furnace.  She called on Poulsbo Heating and Cooling and the repairman instantly recognized her from Fishline.  He lamented that, after helping so many others have a warm home, it just didn't seem right for her to have a cold one.  In an act of spontaneous generosity, he repaired the furnace without cost.  

For 12 weeks through the holiday season, ROTARY CAN DO collected different types of food during their regular Friday morning meetings.  Every week, they added an inch of string, representing a pound of food collected.  The campaign started with a few feet of string, and by the end wrapped around the entire meeting space.  At the end, Rotary brought in over 1330+ lbs of food, 127lbs of ham and turkey AND $1020+ of monetary donations! 

One Saturday morning, a gentleman named Gary came to the back door of Fishline and asked if we could use a few brand new electric blankets, with the price tags still on them! He dropped off 20 of them and said he would return on Monday with more.  He asked specifically that they go to our elderly clients to help save on their heating bills! 

The local Kiwanis club typically donates $5 each to bring their district governor to the meetings, a sort of mileage reimbursement.  Since this person lives locally, he asked that the Kiwanians donate the collection to Fishline and we received a check for $110.

The Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association hosted visits from Thanksgiving to Christmas with Santa and collected money and food donations.  After Christmas they donated $960 plus food to Fishline. 

On a Wednesday evening, when Fishline was open late, here seemed to be an extraordinary number of food donations from individual citizens.  People were stopping in all evening, bringing cans and boxed meals and other fun stuff.  But to cap it off, one couple came in and found each and every volunteer who was working and gave them $10 each.  No questions, no names, just holiday generosity.

Our local fire department showed up at Fishline's door before Christmas with over 443lbs of food donations that they had collected during their holiday food drive. 

Early Christmas Eve, someone was POUNDING on Second Season's door after closing.  The volunteers working were hesitant to open it.  When they did, they found several junior high age girls and their mothers.  They had been playing music out on the main street with a sign that all donations would go to Fish Line and they had a WAD of cash -- over $40!  Great kids and just so happy!  They had a fun time playing and people kept giving!  Then they were so sad that we were closed, but caught the volunteers at the back door.  Such a fun thing on Christmas Eve!

In the last few weeks, volunteers and construction professionals have stepped forward to work on the new building project. The work has happened quickly --  a family has stepped forward to clear out the brush behind the building, other groups have come in to do clean up work, a painter has volunteered his time to paint the walls. 

These examples (and many more!!) week after week through the holiday season left us in awe of the many different ways people found to give.  These special acts of kindness from private citizens, organizations, and businesses mean so much, especially to make sure that those in need have enough during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We so appreciate these holiday Hunger Heroes!

As we begin the new year, we hope you will join us to fill our Hunger Heroes food drive and event calendar.  This important program is designed to highlight the everyday heroes that contribute to Fishline beyond the holiday season.  Contact us at to include your event!