Fishline executive director retiring

Organization programs underway

Fishline is losing its executive director, but at the same time is looking for donations for its Christmas Child program, along with starting a new program to help young people with basic needs.

Lori Maxim, executive director of Fishline Foodbank and Comprehensive Services, announced her retirement effective Dec. 31.

Maxim came to Fishline a little over two years ago. She has helped steer the organization through the COVID pandemic, added three new services for clients (showers, free counseling and Student Opportunity and Advancement Resources), upgraded technology, increased staff compensation policies, and expanded sales at Second Season Thrift Store.

One of her new programs, SOAR, is just getting underway. It provides financial assistance to help youth meet basic needs, achieve academic success and pursue extracurricular activities.

Also, Fishline has been helping others for 38 years with its Christmas Child program. And now it is looking to others to help them. The program is designed to help North Kitsap children wake up Christmas morning to a special gift under their tree, a Fishline news release says. Fishline anticipates needing to raise $55,000 to fund the service for vulnerable community members.

With SOAR, students (K-12) who reside in Poulsbo, Keyport, Suquamish or Bangor may submit financial assistance for items and activities that include clothing, sports equipment, musical instruments, driver’s education, college application fees, summer camp, membership fees, graduation fees, specialized school supplies, science fair projects and more.

Families can enroll online. The registration process takes less than 10 minutes. A case manager will reach out to the parents within 48 hours.

The program is modeled after the Banbridge Community Foundation’s program called Youth Enrichment Services, which began as a three-year pilot program in 2018. The YES program has been able to level the playing field and give all kids the opportunity to participate in activities.

Jim Hopper, executive director of the BCF, said: “When money prevents a barrier to meaningful extracurricular activities, students suffer. Just as our YES fund has broken the barriers for participation for Bainbridge students, so too will SOAR provide life-changing positive experiences for North Kitsap students.”

Maxim added: “Although the program launched less than a week ago, SOAR has already been embraced by parents. Several families have already enrolled in the program.”

For details call Fishline at 360-779-5190.

Christmas Child

The program has grown exponentially since its inception in 1984. Last year the Poulsbo food bank provided gifts to 438 children, an increase of 100 from the year before.

This year, Fishline is expecting 500 children to register due to inflation, rising food prices and transportation costs forcing more families to seek assistance.

Over the years, the food bank’s method has changed.

Initially, it would provide local businesses, civic organizations and faith-based organizations with tree tags with information about a child and their wishlist.

In 2020, Fishline changed the protocols for a couple of reasons: to provide more confidentiality and dignity for those who enrolled, to help the local economy and to ensure that children in the same family received financially equitable gifts.

Now, each parent receives a $50 Walmart gift card and $60 in holiday bucks per child, which can be spent at local stores such as Toys Etc., BookIt Nook, Liberty Bay Books and The Curious Child, among others.

“Our clients love being able to shop for their own child’s Christmas present,” Maxim says in an email. “In addition, local businesses have appreciated the boost in revenue as many were struggling due to the pandemic. We know how difficult it is to ask for help, so we try to make accessing services as low barrier as possible. Our confidential registration can be done online or in person and is a five-minute process.”

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Executive leaving

Maxim was a former vice president of Sound Publishing and had spent more than 20 years in Poulsbo with her family.

Of Maxim, board president Heather Torres said: “She’s reenergized the community about our mission and bolstered donations in a way we’ve never seen before. We will miss her energy, enthusiasm, and get ‘er done attitude.”

Maxim added, “We have done a lot of good together over the past 2+ years. But I am feeling the need to slow my life down and spend more time with family and friends. We have an incredibly talented and passionate staff who understand our vision and mission. I am confident in their abilities to keep us on course and support my replacement.”

Fishline will begin its search for a replacement in the coming weeks.

Fishline is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide food and access to resources that offer stability, improve health and well-being, and help people onto a path to self-sustainability.