Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Anthony!

Sometimes our littlest supporters are the most inspiring! Meet Anthony, who just turned 7. For his birthday, Anthony decided that instead of birthday gifts, he wanted to use the occasion to help families in need. His mom told us, "Anthony has been very aware of the hard times we are all facing and how parents work hard to support their families. It was Anthony’s idea that he did not want the guests to bring him gifts but if they brought food then we could share it with all the boys and girls whose parents cannot pay their bills." He helped his mom write the invitations for his party, which read:
Here's Anthony making his food delivery.

"During these hard and uncertain economic times Anthony would like you to know that he does not expect a birthday gift.  All Anthony would like is to be able to spend time with his friends, so please do not feel it is necessary to bring a gift. What Anthony would like to do is have a food drive.  If you could please find it in your heart and cupboard to send a canned food item with your child to the party, Anthony would like to donate the proceeds to a local food bank so that no child will feel hungry. " 

We're delighted to report that Anthony's birthday food drive was a great success, and on Saturday he and his family made a delivery to our NW Tacoma FISH Food Bank. Here's Anthony with volunteer coordinator Ron Purcella:

Ron and Anthony
Big thanks to Anthony and his family for their generosity and for serving as such an inspiration to us all. And a VERY happy belated birthday to this remarkable young man!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big thanks to the Puyallup Tribe!

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has awarded a $50,000 grant to FISH Food Banks of Pierce County to be used for food purchases by the Southeast FISH Food Bank. The award is the largest the food bank has ever received from the Puyallup Tribe.
Executive director Beth Elliott said, “This incredibly generous donation will go a long way toward serving clients in our busiest food bank. We deeply appreciate the Puyallup Tribe’s compassion for our neighbors in need.”
Southeast FISH, located at 1704 East 85th, is the largest and busiest of our seven fixed locations, serving about 17,000 people each month.
While most of the food that we distribute is donated by individuals, schools, churches, businesses, grocery stores and partner organizations like Northwest Harvest and the Emergency Food Network, we also makes strategic purchases of food to ensure that our clients receive a nutritionally balanced food supply. Through careful stewardship and bulk purchasing, we are able to distribute $7.00 worth of food for every $1.00 donated.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Small stature, big heart ...

Some of our most enthusiastic supporters are our youngest supporters. Take Claire, for instance. This enterprising six-year-old, who will start first grade in September, ran a lemonade stand near her home on the Fourth of July. Selling to folks on their way to the nearby Freedom Fest, Claire raised $220 for FISH Food Banks!  Way to go, Claire, and thanks to you and your parents for your generous support!

Here's our littlest entrepreneur Claire at her lemonade stand.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New waiting area at Edgewood FISH

Everyone at Edgewood Community FISH Food Bank is very happy to have brand-new benches in the waiting area outside the door. The new benches were the work of young Joseph Decker, who coordinated the building and installation of the benches as his Eagle Scout project.

Joseph's mom Joline and his sister Amy have been volunteering at Edgewood for a couple of years.  They're regulars on Thursday afternoons, so when Joseph was trying to decide on a project the food bank was an obvious choice.

On Memorial Day weekend, Joseph, his Scoutmaster dad John, and the Scouts of Troop 525 got the new benches installed. Joseph sought donations for the materials. He (and we) would like to thank Arrow Lumber of Buckley (especially Barney Wagner) for donating the lumber, Rodda Paint of Puyallup for donating the paint, American Presidents Lines Employees for cash donations and labor, and all the Scouts of Troop 525 for their help.  We at FISH Food Banks would like to thank Joseph for this generous support of Edgewood Community FISH - thanks so much and congratulations on achieving the recognition of Eagle Scout!

Edgewood before
Edgewood after

Joseph Decker and his fellow members of Troop 525 celebrate their accomplishment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cooking demos in our food banks

Anna setting up cooking demo
at NW Tacoma FISH
We're very excited to be working with Anna Kitchin, Nutrition Educator with the WSU Pierce County Extension Program. Anna is giving cooking demonstrations in our food banks, offering food samples and recipes for nutritious dishes utilizing food bank items. This week's recipe is Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Greens, being demonstrated at our Edgewood food bank today and Lakes tomorrow.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Greens

  • 2 cups of greens such as spinach, kale or swiss chard
  • 6-7 medium potatoes 
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic                 
  • 1/4 cup of 1% milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

  1. Chop the potatoes in half then in quarters and chunks. Add to a pot of boiling water. 
  2. Peel the garlic and add to the water.
    Boil for about 10-13 minutes. 
  3. Wash the greens then chop or tear into small pieces. 
  4. When the potatoes are done remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl. 
  5. Add the greens to the pot of water. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove the greens and drain. 
  6. Mash the potatoes. Add milk, butter, salt, pepper. Mix ingredients well. 
  7. Add chopped greens. Stir gently and serve. Makes 5-6 servings. 
Provided courtesy of Washington State University Pierce County Extension.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pierce County Gleaning Project

Have you ever watched that fruit tree on your street ripen, and noticed that most of the perfectly tasty apples ended up falling and rotting on the ground? If you hate to see good food go to waste, you’ll be relieved to hear that The Pierce County Gleaning Project is actively working towards a solution. We live in a time when thousands in our community struggle to put food on the table. Diet-related diseases in low-income populations are on the rise due to reduced access to healthy foods like fresh produce. And yet so much food just goes to waste. Gleaning is a great way to reduce food waste and relieve hunger at the same time.
The Pierce County Gleaning Project (PCGP), a collaborative effort of the Emergency Food Network, St. Leo’s Food Connection, and Rotary First Harvest, runs an urban fruit harvest in Tacoma, gleans from farms and farmers markets in the Puyallup Valley, and connects gardeners with food banks through a Plant a Row for the Hungry/Share the Harvest Program. Last year PCGP gleaned (harvested food that would otherwise go to waste) over 30,000 lbs of produce and expects to increase that this year.
Did your tomato plants produce far more than you expected this year? Do you have extra fruit on your fruit tree that you would like to see go to good use? Would you like to grow an extra row of carrots for the food bank? You can help PCGP to reduce both food waste and hunger in Pierce County.
Here’s how you can help:
Volunteer: Help pick tree fruit with your neighborhood fruit harvest group, join in on the Friday morning farm gleans, or plant an extra row for your local food bank.
1) Sign up online at or call 253-584-1040.
2) Attend a training to help with Tacoma fruit harvest or to learn how to set up a harvest in your own community (e.g., Gig Harbor). Training sessions will be offered:
Wednesday, July 11, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Wheelock Library, 2722 North 26th Street
Saturday, July 21, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Moore Library, 215 South 56th Street
Register your Fruit Tree: We can help you pick your excess tree fruit and donate it to a local food bank. If you have a fruit tree, register it online at or call (253) 383-5048

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gearing up for summer

The kids may be counting down to the end of the school year, and families may be looking forward to a slower pace during summer vacations, but the summer months are busy and challenging in our food banks.

For food banks, summer usually means that demand increases, while donations drop off. During the school week, for example, free and reduced price school meal programs help to ensure that kids from low-income families don't go hungry. But school vacations mean that families already struggling to make ends meet need to fill that gap, and that means increased demand on the food banks. Meanwhile, donations often hit a lull until organizations begin to gear up for fall and holiday food drives.

What can you do to help? Do you have extra produce from your garden? Consider donating it to the nearest FISH Food Bank. Fresh produce flies off our shelves when we are able to offer it. Consider a summer drive for food or funds to help stock our shelves. Remember that for every dollar donated, FISH can provide seven dollars' worth of food to hungry families -- your help makes all the difference!