POULSBO — Without North Kitsap Fishline, Victoria Detrick would still be living in her van.
The 67-year-old grandmother is now in an apartment in Silverdale, thanks to Fishline’s help.
“I’d been sleeping in my van for 18 months,” Detrick said. “They helped me find an apartment I could afford. I had everything I owned in storage for so long that it’s like Christmas, opening all the boxes and getting moved in.”
Detrick was familiar with Fishline because years earlier, when she was raising her grandchildren, Fishline helped her with clothes and food for the children.
“My granddaughter was just 2 when her mother dropped her off to go shopping and never returned,” Detrick said. “She was in desperate need of dental work and Fishline helped me with that, too.”
Some of the funding came from the Poulsbo Lions Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund, whose winter fundraising campaign is now underway.
Detrick’s relationship with Fishline has been ongoing for more than the past 15 years. As she explains, she has often gotten into a small house or mobile home and fixed it up.
“Then I get it looking nice, the landlords would say, ‘I think I’m going to sell it.’ ”
She would end up without a place to live.
“It’s happened to me 11 times,” Detrick said. “The last time was a mobile home on a piece or property at Paradise Bay on Bainbridge Island. The landlord decided to sell it for $125,000. He asked me if I wanted to buy it — like I had that kind of money.”
So Detrick found herself looking for storage for her things, which she had to go all the way to Chimacum to find.
“At that time, there were no storage units open around here,” she said. “So now I’m driving my van back and forth to get all my things in my new place.”
Besides helping her find a home, Fishline has helped her with mental health services and filling out paperwork for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development program so she can get rent assistance. Fishline also helped her apply for Social Security and for disability.
“And don’t forget the food, and the clothing,” she said. “Everything they do, they do with so much compassion. They’ve heard everything. Nothing surprises them. And they don’t judge. They are so decent and kind.”
In fact, if Detrick finds herself feeling down, she gets in her car and drives to Fishline.
“They offer me a cup of coffee and there’s always someone to talk to. They are very positive people. They don’t give up on anyone.”
Detrick feels so blessed that she hopes to “be on the other side” soon. “I want to go there and be a volunteer and help others,” she said. “I want to give back.”
Fishline’s mission is to serve people in need by providing food and emergency services, according to its website.
Fishline’s ultimate goal, according to its mission statement, is to help create a community where a “safety net” exists for all people, which includes adequate food, shelter, health care and employment.
Fishline is committed to treating all people with dignity and respect, working collaboratively with other agencies and community organizations, providing quality services to our clients and focusing on ways that we can continue to improve our services.
North Kitsap Fishline is the largest food bank and emergency services organization in North Kitsap and, as such, provides food and non-food services to the greatest number of people within its service area.
In 2016, Fishline distributed almost a million pounds of food to around 1,700 households, or 4,000 individuals. Fishline has a 43-year history of serving the needs of the low- and no-income population in North Kitsap and has grown substantially since its inception in a local church, as a small emergency assistance resource. Fishline is now a non-secular organization with no ties to religious groups other than as a recipient of donations.
Fishline was founded in 1967 to provide food and transportation assistance for families and individuals in crisis. In 1979, due to the abundant donations of clothing and household items, Fishline opened a thrift shop in addition to the food bank. This was not only a resource for clients, but also provided needed revenue to purchase food for the food bank.
Because of a continued increase in clients and expansion of services, Fishline became a registered nonprofit corporation in 1983. In 1986, a capital campaign was completed and a larger building was purchased on 3rd Avenue in Poulsbo.
In 2010, Fishline moved its thrift store to a new location away from the main building and began remodeling and expanding the food bank into the old thrift store space.
During the years, local needs grew and Fishline increased its services to include a full-scale food bank and a broad scope of emergency services made up of eviction prevention rent, medical/prescription co-pays, emergency overnight accommodations and first-month rent for the homeless, transportation assistance (gas and bus), free clothing and household needs (through the thrift shop) and utilities assistance. Other needs are considered on an individual basis. Most recently, October 2009, Fishline started a new weekend feeding program for children, Food for Thought. Fishline now offers the largest and most comprehensive program in North Kitsap.
About the fund
This year, the fund’s goal is $35,000, of which every penny will go to help those in need.
The funds are administered by Fishline, St. Vincent de Paul and ShareNet to provide food, emergency shelter and emergency financial assistance to North Kitsap residents in need. There is no overhead. Every penny helps neighbors put food on tables, keep the lights and heat on, keep a roof over their heads, and get to medical appointments and work.
The fund was established in 1942 by Frank and Mabel Raab. Frank served as a Poulsbo City Council member from 1946 to 1960, and as mayor from 1960-69. They started the fund as a way for local residents to help neighbors in need during the year.
Originally, the Lions Club established the protocol and administered the fund. But when bookkeeping became overwhelming, they passed off the administration of the fund to three local nonprofits.
Donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be mailed to Bellringer Fund, P.O. Box 1244, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Donations are also accepted at the North Kitsap Herald, 19351 8th Ave. NE, in Poulsbo. Donations are listed each week in the Herald and on KitsapDailyNews.com.
Contributions to the Bellringer Fund as of Nov. 30:
• Jay and Sandra Dahlquist, $750, in memory of dear friends Sandy and Sonda, and the best employees ever, Bernie and Dorothy.
• Trisha Merrit and Stephen Verderber, $1,500.
• Anonymous, $100.
• William A. Schmidt Jr., $250, in honor of Helene and Bill Schmidt.