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New leader brings a fresh face to Fishline

POULSBO — It was just one of those serendipitous things, Karen Timken said.

Becoming North Kitsap Fishline’s newest executive director, that is.

A retired teacher with 21 years of marketing instruction under her belt, and a resume boasting visual merchandising and retail management experience, the Central Kitsap native wasn’t looking for the Fishline job.

But she’s certainly glad to have found it.

Wanting to find a post-retirement occupation to fill her time, Timken’s curiosity was piqued after seeing the food banks’ advertisement. Making the decision to go for it, she proceeded to nab the leadership role and is now digging deep into her new responsibilities, which happen to provide the perfect avenue to distribute all the corporate and management skills she’s developed in a way that helps a wide group of people.

“I get to use all those corporate skills that my background and the education bring, but I get to do it for the community,” she said. “I love it.”

A post that’s “the best of both worlds,” now Timken is ready to put a face to the Fishline name.

“We do so much more than food,” she said. “I want the community to know really who we are, not just what we do.”

Client outreach, help with bills, rent and gas, and referral assistance are among the services Fishline offers, the Kingston resident said. Her plan is to meet with the community’s philanthropic groups and extend the agency’s contacts as Poulsbo continues to grow.

Showing the face of both Fishline’s clients and volunteers — of which they can always use more — is part of her strategy. Encouraging donations remains vital to her as well, and while Timken said there are many consistent donors, a majority of contributions come in during the holidays. Heading into early spring, shelves tend to empty. A community drive event can be expected for March or April to help remedy the annual slump, and Timken said North Kitsap consists of residents who lend a great amount of support to their needy neighbors.

“It’s incredible, the outpouring of the community,” she said.

Fishline distributed 50,783 pounds of food in December 2007 alone, and served more than 50,000 people last year. Between Jan. 2-7, the non-proft helped 1,070 clients, she said.

For more information on Fishline services, how to donate food, clothing or office furniture and supplies, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call (360) 779-5190 or visit nkfishline.org.

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