Fishline reeling with holiday basket needs

POULSBO — Some Fishline clients could be facing a not-so-happy new year if the donations from the community don’t increase soon.

With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, the Poulsbo food bank is practically swimming in requests from families who are still seeking donated holiday baskets. And, as the clock winds down, officials at Fishline are facing the prospect of having to dig into the organization’s coffers to put food on the tables of needy families throughout North Kitsap.

If this happens, Executive Director Tricia Sullivan said the first few months of 2002 could be tougher than usual for the 3rd Avenue fixture.

“Basically, what we’re in need of is organizations and people who will adopt a family this Christmas,” Sullivan explained, noting that businesses and individuals first contact Fishline, then the family in need before putting the basket together. The donor can then set a drop off or pick up time with the family and arrange for delivery.

“If they want to put anything else in the basket, they can,” she added. Presently Fishline is short about 50 baskets, but Sullivan expected to get another 100 requests by the Friday deadline. The Christmas meals assist families of four in the area.

So far, about 220 families have asked for help and even though the food bank helped with 413 last year, this Christmas has been tighter than most for not only Fishline and its donors but for North Kitsap’s low-income residents as well.

“We’ve had a lot more new clients in the past month,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s a combination of things. Some people have been laid off and many others have had their hours cut back at work. People may have been working 40 hours a week and now they’re down to 30 — and that’s not enough to buy groceries, pay for power and food.”

Despite the flood of requests, Fishline has pledged that no family that signs up for the program by Friday will go hungry this Christmas.

“We wont say ‘no,’” she remarked, adding that the food bank will create baskets for any family which isn’t adopted. “We won’t turn anyone away.”

While the position is a noble one, Fishline could see repercussions next year, Sullivan said.

“It’ll mean that January will be a pinch,” she explained. “It’s costing us more to purchase food and we’re getting more and more requests — we’ll have to go to the community and ask for help.”

For more information or to make a donation to Fishline’s Christmas basket program, call 779-5190.

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