Fishline banks on holiday help

POULSBO — Besides keeping its shelves full through the meager winter months, Fishline Food Bank has one more holiday wish — actually, about 600 wishes to be exact.

Community groups, families and even individuals are being sought this holiday season to help supply holiday baskets to families in need in the North Kitsap area. Fishline director Tricia Sullivan said the numbers of people seeking help filling their pantries is growing and so is the need for holiday help.

“Our numbers are up,” Sullivan commented. “We thought they couldn’t go up any higher but we’re finding more working families finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. For many of them, the savings they did have are now being depleted.”

The good news is the local food bank’s shelves are full, due in part to recent food drives from places like Poulsbo Junior High, Starbucks and local realty agencies.

“But you’d be surprised how fast they can empty,” commented Fishline volunteer Ann DeFord.

And the need is still there to provide families with special Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. Sullivan said she’s expecting about 300 families to need Thanksgiving baskets, which include all of the fixings for a traditional holiday meal like a turkey or ham, potatoes, stuffing, veggies, rolls and a pie. The same number of requests is expected at Christmas time.

The time for families to request a Thanksgiving basket has already passed, but those who would like to sign up for a Christmas basket can do so between Dec. 1 and 12.

Anyone wishing to help supply one of these baskets can do so by contacting Fishline. Sullivan said she’ll give them the name of a family and the size of the family to ensure the basket includes enough food. The person supplying the basket then shops for the ingredients.

“We usually ask people to provide whatever their family might enjoy for a Thanksgiving meal, the regular fixings for a festive meal,” Sullivan explained.

Once the basket has been bought, the donor contacts the family and arranges to either deliver the basket or drop it off somewhere like a local supermarket or at Fishline for pick-up.

Sullivan said a number of local churches, schools and service organizations regularly donate to this cause. The Poulsbo Noon Lions typically furnish about 100 of the Christmas baskets. But a fair number of families also make the baskets part of their holiday traditions.

“Last year, I think we had about 30 families that did it and I think they really enjoyed it because it was an opportunity for the parents and the children to work together and see how even the smallest child could help those in need,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said donations of the individual items to create holiday baskets are also appreciated. Any family that requests a basket but is not adopted by an organization or family will receive a basket from Fishline.

Besides food baskets, Fishline also hosts a Christmas toy drive every year. Sullivan said donations have already poured in for this year, but as always there is still a shortage of items for kids ages 11 to 14.

“We’re always short on those ones,” Sullivan said. “Things like sweatshirts or gift certificates to the movies.”

Fishline is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays at 18916 Third Ave. NE. For more information, or to make a donation, call (360) 779-5190.

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