Opinion

Continuing on a journey of kindness and caring | Neighbors Helping Neighbors

By MARY NADER

Would you be surprised to learn that Fishline Food Bank wasn’t always a food bank?

In the beginning, in 1967, a group of residents came together to help each other in very tangible, community kind of ways. Headquartered in a local church, early volunteers of “The Fishline” stood at the ready to help. If you needed a ride to the doctor, someone could drive you. If your lawn needed mowing and you were sick, a volunteer would pitch in. After a time, donations of clothes and household items started coming in, and a bigger building had to be found.

The first move was from the church to a converted home on Jensen Way. Here, struggling families could shop for free, and donated items could also be sold to generate money to help those who needed it.

In true North Kitsap style, the building couldn’t contain all the generosity aimed its way and a new space had to be found again.  That’s when Fishline, now including some food support, moved to its building on 3rd Avenue. Food and emergency services expanded to meet needs.

As the food bank grew, the Fishline Thrift Store grew its inventory, merchandising and sales. The thrill of finding that possible treasure, valued at much more than the price on the tag, brought many back again and again. Keeping that excitement alive, and sales growing, has always been the mission of these volunteers, and their success is a key to Fishline’s ability to help throughout the year, even when other donations ebb.

What a long way the store has come over the years, especially after it moved to its location on the waterfront.  When they first walk into Second Season, many shoppers cannot believe it is a thrift store.  Beautiful clothes hang crisply and neatly, each piece closely scrutinized for condition and desirability.  Mannequins are dressed in the latest fashions, put together by volunteers who have a knack for that sort of thing. Books and shoes are neatly organized, the result of painstaking attention to detail that is possible because of so much love for the cause.

Your donations combine with the efforts of 70 dedicated volunteers to create a shopping experience unlike any other in Poulsbo. For customers, finding the right pair of pants or a plate to replace a broken one may be reward enough. But then, realizing that the proceeds go to help someone in crisis brings a poignant satisfaction.

When Second Season Home, an extension of our thrift store specializing in home furnishings and decorator items, opens in our 3rd Avenue location on Sept. 4, it will join the long, heartwarming journey of kindness and caring that is a hallmark of Fishline’s history. Each and every sale will become an opportunity to offer stability to those in the most difficult times of their lives. It is an elegant recycling program, a chance to repurpose items no longer wanted so that lives can be better.

We enter into this next chapter knowing we can count on the support of our community as we have all of these 47 amazing years.

— Mary Nader is executive director of North Kitsap Fishline. Contact her at director@nkfishline.org.

 

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