A Brief History of FISH
FISH Community Food Bank is a Christian nonprofit that has served our hungry neighbors in Kittitas County for the past 46 years, beginning as a grassroots organization housed in one small room at the Ellensburg Grace Episcopal Church in 1971. “Minutemen for FISH” helped their neighbors with groceries, clothing, medication, babysitting, rides and more. In 1977 it was moved to the First Methodist Church in Ellensburg. Today, FISH continues to embrace its Christian heritage and remains grateful for the generosity and support of partner churches, community members, Central Washington University, local businesses and restaurants, Rotary clubs, fraternal organizations, City of Ellensburg, and other community partners. This amazing collaboration of support has ensured the FISH’s ability to keep the doors open and serve an ever-increasing number of hungry neighbors. FISH serves all people and all types of people volunteer at FISH!
When it opened, FISH was providing supplemental groceries for about 500 people a month. As need for the food bank grew, it became impossible to work in a limited space, so FISH moved into the Snickelldoodle Building in 2008 and eventually purchased the building in 2012. During its time there, the food bank morphed from an all-volunteer organization to the Washington State Lead Contractor for all Kittitas County food banks.
On the day after Thanksgiving in 2014, FISH at Snickelldoodle burned down. Staff, volunteers, donors, clients, and the entire Kittitas Valley were devastated. Luckily, within hours one of its partners, Mercer Creek Church, invited FISH to move into their bus garage and youth building for a temporary home. With incredible commitment and generosity, more than 100 volunteers from sponsor churches and the community moved quickly to put FISH back in business at Mercer Creek Church.
Since then, FISH has only grown. Even with 2 full time and 3 part time staff, FISH still operates almost entirely on volunteers efforts. Whether it’s helping almost 7,000 children get meals throughout the summer, supporting more than 6,700 families with groceries throughout the year or feeding 1,100 meals to those who are hungry, FISH is constantly trying to do more with less and help even more of our neighbors.