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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Nourish Pierce County (formerly FISH Food Banks of Pierce County)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Assistance, Family Services, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: Nourish’s mission is to provide nutritious food for people in need with compassion, dignity and respect. Our goal is to provide each individual and family with enough food to make at least three meals a day for three days. No one in need is ever turned away.

Results: Nourish impacts the community by helping provide the most basic need--balanced, nutritious food for families and individuals. Nourish serves the underemployed, unemployed, children, seniors, active-duty military, veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals with disabilities, and many hard-working families who are often times just a paycheck away from losing everything. In 2016 NOURISH served over 69,199 unduplicated people in Pierce County during 500,000 food bank visits and distributed 6.5 (+) million pounds of food for a total of more than 4.5 million nourishing meals. 700 volunteers donated 96,151 hours.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2016 NOURISH served over 69,199 unduplicated people in Pierce County during 500,000 food bank visits and distributed 6.5 (+) million pounds of food for a total of more than 4.5 million nourishing meals.

Programs: Incorporated in 1982, Nourish Pierce County is the oldest and largest food bank network in Pierce County, with seven food banks and an innovative mobile food bank that visits ten unique locations each week. Food bank locations are spread throughout the county and chosen strategically based on community need and areas lacking food access. Nourish’s mission is to provide nutritious food for people in need with compassion, dignity and respect. No one has to travel far for food and no one is turned away.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everyone, from the top to the bottom,works very hard 7 days a week to make sure this food
bank runs smoothly. It is amazing to see how many people it takes to run a food bank. it is
gratifying to know that we have helped people who are hungry to be able to set food on the
table for their familes.
Don and Janice Brennan

2 Randy19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved in this food bank for around 3 years. We serve the community and do a great deal of good. The thing that most people don't get to see is the growth in our young volunteers. I have seen many young people come to get thier credits for high school graduation. A lot of these young people stay long after they have thier credits. These kids grow into caring adults in front of my eyes. I can tell that they will be involved in some type of community program for the rest of thier lives. Our food bank is here to feed people, and we do a great job of that. The extra is that we are growing and promoting the next generation of caring and commited adults in our community.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We love that the Edgewood Fish Food bank gives my son and I the opportunity to give back to the community. We value the people we get to work with and love the commitment the church has made by building and supporting the community center and food bank. The city of Edgewood and East Pierce county are stronger because of their faithfulness and care.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family has been loosely involved with the edgewood fish food bank for years. Two years ago my daughter needed community service hours, so she and I volunteered one saturday morning, and we never stopped. The community outreach and overwhelming compassion of each person involved at Fish exemplifies the necessary Christian response to a broken world: The physical needs of the clients are met with dignity, and the relationship between the clients and volunteers is warm and genuine. The core members at Fish have a commitment to be the hands of Christ to anyone who has need. In a very simple and profound way Fish food bank simply answers the call to "feed My sheep."

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

well think about it without fish and its many volunteers how many people would be without at least a meal. I help at edgewood all of the volunteers are great. I also pickup from other fish food banks and they are great as well. it takes many to help many.

1 Dawn67

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at the Edgewood Foodbank. It is amazing how many people it takes to make this operation run. It has shown me there are many great giving caring people left. Kate who runs it spends so much time at work and on her own personal time. Dale is so wonderful with everything he does. This is just a really great place helping the community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer weekly at the FISH foodbank in Edgewood. I am impressed with the thoughtfulness of the director. She is always concerned about her volunteers as well as her clients.

The foodbank is always a warm welcoming place to everyone. Volunteers are appreciated at this foodbank.

I know many of our clients really appreciate the foodbank. Some come from far away because this is their favorite foodbank.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FISH Food Banks provides a critical service to local communities. I became aware of FISH via the Food Backpacks 4 Kids, where we work together in a partnership role for the greater Key Peninsula Community. As a volunteer Board member for both the FISH Food Bank and the Peninsula Community Foundation (parent to the Food Backpacks 4 Kids program), I have intimate knowledge of the focus on service and love to the community actively demonstrated by FISH daily.

The FISH Food Bank is managed very efficiently and is totally dedicated to its mission to provide
food and more for individuals in need with compassion, dignity and respect.. I serve the FISH Food Bank with pride and am honored to be associated with this non-profit.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the board of FISH through a friend who thought my past board experience could be useful to the organization and I will admit I did not know much about the organization. It took me a very short time to realize the scope of the work and the huge demand on the very small staff.

I am so proud of FISH and the service they provide to our community. The fact that 98% of the work is completed by proud "volunteer's" many who have dedicated their time for years really says it all. Once you have witnessed the need and how kind and generous our volunteers help these individuals you will never doubt the value of FISH.

Feel free to go to our website and learn more about this powerful community resource.

Barbara Reed
Board Member

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with several non-profits in the Pierce County area but becoming involved with FISH Food Banks of Pierce County has been a great learning experience. The work they accomplish with less than 5 paid employees is remarkable. FISH has developed and supported a large volunteer base that is committed to the mission of feeding people with dignity. The volunteers carry out their task with great pride and are as reliable as any paid staff. I am very proud of their accomplishments and commitment.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great group of people, well organized, truly enjoyed my time with all of them.

1 Mike90

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board Members of FISH Food Banks of Pierce County, my task is to see that FISH is the very best steward of any and all resources passing through our organization that are being made available to serve those seeking food bank assistance. The need is great and seemingly endless, but the consequences of poor nutrition can be severe. For infants and children, the damage can be irreversible.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In a time when everyone is having to make do with less, the leadership and volunteers at FISH food bank are not only stretching every dollar in an effort to make sure that the over 500,000 individuals its serves receive the food they need, but also continuing to advocate on behalf of those struggling to put food on the table here in Pierce County and throughout Washington state. This organization truly understands what it means to serve. I would encourage everyone to find out more about FISH and the impact it has on our local communities.

timothyandrews

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found the Fish Food Bank to be very well organized. All the volunteers are helpful and friendly. The shelves are kept stocked and organized well. The flow of recipients through the bank managed very well. A wide variety of items are availabled, canned food, frozen, drinks, dry goods...
I enjoy volunteering here because it is so well organized.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I wasn't even aware of this organization until earlier this year. Little did I know, FISH Food Banks serves more than half a million people each year throughout Pierce County. Unfortunately, all of these vulnerable families and this great service was not on my radar screen. I'm most impressed that all of the food banks serve people in need with compassion, dignity and respect. It's not easy to ask for help when you need it. It's embarrassing for most people to need to visit a food bank. They could be your family member, your neighbor, but too ashamed to let you know they need this help. So many seniors, students, hard working families, veterans and honorable military service members are forced to turn to a food bank for assistance. It's heartbreaking. But I'm so glad that FISH Food Banks are there and able to meet the need.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When I see a consistant monthly donation of 2200 plus volunteer hours at the largest distributing food bank in pierce county. I understand how SE FISH Tacoma can accomdate and service 17,000 plus clients a month.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at the SE FISH Food Bank in mid 2012 with a group of managers from work. I have done volunteering all up and down the west Coast from CA to NV to OR to WA , but I was most impressed by the compassion, respect and pride the FISH Volunteers demonstrate when serving their clients and was awestruck by the appreciation and gratitude demonstrated by the Food Bank Coordinator, Jim. From the moment our group walked in we were welcomed. The intake process is easy and there are plenty of other volunteers on-hand to "show you the ropes". Enabling the clients to use the grocery store format to select their own goods empowers the recipients. The volunteers get to engage and interact with the people being served and it's such a rewarding way to spend 2 hours on a Wednesday afternoon. However, the volunteer opportunities don't end there. Several of my Banking Center managers have set up early volunteer times that allow their whole teams to sort and re-pack food in preparation for distribution times. Jim takes a great team photo at the end of the shift and the participants have proudly displayed their photos on their break room walls. In December of 2012 I was asked to deliver a Grant Check to FISH from Bank of America and purely by chance I presented the check to Executive Director Beth Elliot during a meeting of the Board of Directors. When I overheard that there was a vacancy on the board I applied and was accepted to a two year term. Yet another volunteer opportunity was almost immediately presented to me: coordinating a team of 12 Bank of America Volunteers to help with the 2013 Annual FISH Food Bank FriendRaiser (next FriendRaiser is April 19, 2014 at the McGavick Center in Lakewood). Our volunteers checked in attendees, helped with seating, sold raffle tickets and helped with the auction. It was a rewarding Saturday evening for my teammates from Pierce and Thurston County and they loved the opportunity to volunteer in such a different and fun way. Providing food for individuals in need with compassion, dignity and respect isn’t just a saying at FISH Food Banks – it’s a culture that is carefully cultivated and maintained through the energy, dedication, passion and commitment of volunteers. Please consider becoming involved in this worthy cause – whether it’s by donating food or money or time – your efforts will make a HUGE difference in the lives of the clients and you’d be surprised how much difference spending time volunteering will make in YOUR life as well.

2 Carmen8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to the Lakes Fish Food Bank as a client in September of 2011 then when my husband deployed in 2012 I began to volunteer in August. As a client I was made to feel comfortable & unembarrassed to be there to get food for my family. Now as a volunteer I strive to make others feel the same way. I am now the volunteer coordinator and train volunteers who come in to help stock & dispense food. My main goal here is to make sure every person who comes through the door feels comfortable and to leave feeling more upbeat about their day and that the situation they have found themselves in that brought them here is not a defining point in their lives but just a bump in the road on their journey.

1 Mary212

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to FISH in December 2012. I absolutely love it and will continue here for as long as I am able. We help so many people with food and other essential items for the home. The clients are wonderful and we make sure we treat every single person with compassion, dignity, and respect. It's amazing how people come in unsure and shy, and when they leave they are happy and more confident.

1 Deb I.

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is such an honor to serve on a board of such an impactful organization. Our mission of serving those in need with compassion, dignity & respect is what we do throughout the organization. The model of letting our clients actually shop & select the food they would like for their families does so much for the self esteem of our clients. It is so fulfilling to give people a hand up with this basic need in our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I started volunteering at the Lakewood branch of the FISH Food Banks, we served about 1200 clients a month. This past year, that number has grown to over 8000 in a month at times and hovers around 7000+. FISH strives to meet the growing demand by constantly improving its approach to providing food to the hungry in our community. New sources of donations, improved processes for allowing clients a greater choice in the food they take home, increased number of volunteers and ongoing commitment by the historical donors make it possible for the Lakes food bank to serve this increasing population.. The commitment of staff and volunteers is amazing. Even though I have moved out of the area, I continue to feel connected to this organization and to support it.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FISH Food Banks uses all possible means to feed the hungry in Pierce County. The branch I work with started over 35 years ago as joint effort by community churches. Since I started working with them in 2005, we have gone from serving about 1200 individuals a month to serving over 4000 a month. So much hunger. FISH provides, on average, over 40 pounds of food - canned, frozen, fresh - to each family that visits. Volunteers do most of the work - very few paid staff - and donations support the effort. Being part of this work bonds people and strengthens the community.