Fishline clocks new hours for working families

POULSBO — The face of hunger is changing in North Kitsap.

And so is the way Little Norway’s own food bank is meeting those needs.

Now through Labor Day, Fishline Food Bank on 3rd Avenue will be open from 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays in addition to its typical 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekday hours. The new hours reflect a change in the typical people the bank is seeing.

“For a long time, our clients have been shifting from being families who are unemployed to families who maybe have two or three jobs,” Fishline Director Tricia Sullivan explained. “We wanted to accommodate these folks who have working schedules, or who have never used the food bank because they didn’t have time to come by during the day.”

The new hours will be added on a trial basis and Fishline staff will reevaluate them after Labor Day to determine whether or not they will continue. In addition to counting the number of people who utilize the service, clients who come in during the evening hours are also being asked to fill out a survey to better gauge their reaction.

So far, the center has had three Wednesday evening openings and has had modest turnout. But it’s the response from those who have shown up that has made it worthwhile, Sullivan said.

“People have been very glad that we’re willing to be open later,” she commented. “They’re telling volunteers, ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’ve never been able to use (the food bank) before.’”

Besides helping current clients, Sullivan said she hopes the new hours may also bring new folks through her doors. Though the number of people using Fishline’s services has been steadily climbing the last few years, she still believes there are many out there in need who have never visited the food bank. Any resident of the North Kitsap School District of any age, even minors, can visit the center for food and help with things like utility payments and necessary prescriptions.

“The biggest challenge has been trying to publicize,” Sullivan said. “We really want to reach out to people who haven’t been able to use our services before.”

For those not in need of Fishline’s help, Sullivan added that donations and more volunteers are also needed. The new hours mean that people who can help staff the center Wednesday evenings are encouraged to give of their time.

Also, summertime is generally a lean season for food banks in terms of donations. With 50 percent of Fishline’s clients being school-aged children, Sullivan said kids at home for break mean more food needs for families that use their services. Besides basic staples like peanut butter, canned soups and stews, pasta and baking mixes, Sullivan said soap, toilet paper and laundry detergent are items they’ve had a great need for recently.

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