Happy 40th Birthday Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank and Community Services
Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank and Community Services (GHP FISH")organization began around May 1976 as a faith based effort to reach out and help individuals, children and families in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area in need - “neighbor helping neighbor”. Founder, Jan Coen, started this all-volunteer organization to respond to the invisible nature of hunger and poverty impacting individuals, children and entire families in her community. Jan and her volunteers wanted to care for those in need in the Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula community regardless of their faith, race or social status. Particular focus is on the working poor and children while insuring services are available to the disabled and elderly clients as well. Some forty years later, the GHP FISH neighbor volunteers continue to serve the hungry in the community and provide multiple community services. The scope of the services includes:
- Food Bank – emergency food assistance for those not enrolled in long term programs such as food stamps. Food stuffs are provided to the low income, disabled, elderly and others clients with the expectation that any able-bodied individual will be actively seeking work to improve their situation. Beyond food stuff, clients may select books and toys as available.
- Christmas Baskets and Toy Program – low income families receive special holiday baskets and children’s toys based on their needs. In 2015, 175 families, 523 individuals and 233children received Christmas baskets. The Toy Program distributed toys to 270 children in the GHP FISH service area.
· Clothing and Small Household Goods – clients approved for food bank services may shop in the used clothing closet and access on a first come basis donated household goods.
· Emergency Financial Assistance – GHP FISH provides limited help with rent, water and electricity bills, prescriptions and other emergency needs on a one time basis. Note: Phone costs, land-line or cell, are not eligible for assistance. In calendar year 2015, 411familes received nearly $100,000 in financial aid.
· School Counselor’s Program includes: Children at Risk Counseling where counselors identify children at risk along with their families to receive after-school counseling with selected private counselors. With the Founder’s Fund, school counselors may access a fund for low-income children in need of shoes, clothing, prescriptions or other special needs. The Summer Camp aspect of the school counselor's program allows school counselors to facilitate summer camp to keep at risk student’s skills current during the summer.
· Urgent Transportation – volunteer drivers provide a ride to the doctor, medical treatments (including chemotherapy and radiations appointments) when residents have no other transportation option.
· Student Educational Support Program – low income college, GED and vocational school students receive funds for expenses such as books, supplies, paying for GED exams, licenses (i.e. CNA) and transportation to ensure their needs are met on their path to becoming self-sufficient.
Forty years of neighbor helping neighbor could only be possible through fantastic volunteers and generous community support. Donors, volunteers and community members are invited to celebrate together and give thanks for forty years of service to our community. Join the celebration on Tuesday, May 17 from Noon to 1:30 PM at the Peninsula Lutheran Church, 6509 38th Ave, NW, Gig Harbor. RSVP by calling (253) 858-6179.