Community Partners: FISH Food Banks

FISH (Friends in Service to Him) Food Banks of Pierce County is the oldest and largest food bank network in Pierce County. FISH, which has seven permanent locations and one mobile food bank capable of traveling to nine additional areas of need, functions as an emergency food bank and follows a self-serve model, with patrons selecting food items for themselves much as they would in a traditional grocery store.

In addition to its goal of supplying residents with enough food to make three meals a day for three days, FISH seeks to connect with the communities it serves and “To provide nutritious food to people in need with compassion, dignity and respect,” per the company website.

This mission is accomplished largely with the help of volunteers. FISH serves up to 50,000 people each month but employs only 10 paid staff members, each of whom is responsible for stocking, sorting and distributing food, as well as cleaning up and resetting the food bank at the beginning and end of each day.

The majority of day-to-day operations are carried out by the 700 volunteers FISH works with each year. These volunteers make it possible for FISH food banks to operate every day of the week and consistently meet the need of local communities.

In addition to its work as a food bank, FISH partners with Sound Outreach to send specialists into communities to provide financial education and assistance. These specialists are a source of support in matters such as registering for food stamps and improving financial literacy, and can also provide foreclosure counseling to help residents through difficult times.

FISH accepts food and fund donations at all of its locations. According to the company website, every $1 donation provides $8 worth of food, with 97 percent of all donated funds going toward food distribution. Clothing and other item donations are accepted at the company’s administrative headquarters in downtown Tacoma and at the Lakewood and South East locations.

Volunteers are accepted year-round. Responsibilities may include greeting clients, sorting and repacking food items, restocking shelves and loading or unloading groceries.

For more information, visit fishfoodbanks.org, follow FISH Food Banks on Facebook and Twitter, or call Kerrisan Meyer, Volunteer Coordinator, at 253-383-3164.