Fishline reports huge services increase in 2023

Fishline Food Bank & Comprehensive Services provided an impact report presentation to the Poulsbo City Council Jan. 17, indicating a huge increase in services in 2023.

Executive director Charlie Thompson said over 55,000 visits were made to access services at Fishline, an increase of 29% from the previous year. In 2022, it served 1,574 households and 3,831 members. In 2023, it served 2,240 households and 5,396 members.

For unduplicated households, there was a 42% increase, and visits by unhoused individuals rose by 19%. The average age decreased from 49 to 42. Average daily market visits increased 70%, and financial assistance increased over $30,000. In 2022, 370 sessions of mental health counseling were conducted, increasing to 1,123 in 2023.

“We think we are a model organization, and we want to share that with anyone and everyone who’s willing to listen,” Thompson said. “We are very fortunate to have good support from the community. We just closed out our fiscal year, and we actually surpassed our goal of charitable income, which is a huge plus for us.”

Other notable statistics from 2023 include: $1.9 million of food distributed in local market; 100 households a day; $1.75 million in donated food; purchased nearly $53,000 in grocery items; $178,433 in financial assistance; 40 children participated in extracurricular activities such as dance, music lessons and athletics; 970 case management appointments; $156,000 in clothing, toiletries and other needed items; hosted 932 showers for those who do not have access to clean water; 1,123 counseling sessions; 1.6 full-time equivalent counselors; offer appointments within three business days of enrollment; 33,100.5 hours of service; 382 volunteers; and equivalent of 16 full-time staff.

Thompson said Fishline wants to expand its services, such as family, support groups and other types of counseling; additional shower day; remote case management; and analyze emerging conditions as needed. It also plans to open an additional thrift store at its old location, adding to the services that Second Season Thrift Store provides.

“We were down on our thrift store sales. Retail sales are little depressed right now, and that impacts the thrift market as well. It’s a balancing act for sure. We have a healthy reserve, which is important because it allows us to do some things that we may not otherwise be able to do,” Thompson concluded.