In 1970, a group of Newberg residents organized Newberg FISH Emergency Services, with a desire to lend a hand to local neighbors and families in need. FISH is an acronym for Friends In Service to Humanity.
Initially, requests for assistance were quite varied. The sorts of things one neighbor would do for another: a ride to a doctor appointment, mowing lawns, or helping with home repair. Gasoline and clothing were other frequent requests. Food was part of our service from the start. One early volunteer recalls receiving a phone call for assistance, pulling stockpiled food from her own refrigerator, and hopping on her bicycle for delivery.
Newberg FISH began to steadily grow in both numbers of volunteers and in requests for service. Eventually Newberg FISH decided to strategically focus its efforts to fill gaps not filled by other community groups. It was immediately apparent that providing supplemental nutrition was the area in which Newberg FISH could best serve our neighbors. Eventually, providing supplemental nutrition in the form of food boxes became their primary focus.
In 1984, Newberg FISH distributed nearly 800 food boxes. Each year, the number of neighbors that Newberg FISH was able to help continued to steadily grow. In 1991, Newberg FISH distributed nearly 3,000 food boxes, a more than four-fold increase in just seven years.
By then, local Letter carriers, Boy Scouts, churches, schools, and businesses were holding food drives to benefit Newberg FISH clients. Those efforts continue to this day, which allow us to provide generous food boxes to our neighbors and families in need. In 2003, FISH assisted a total of 16,215 local people.
2015 marks our 45th
anniversary. FISH has undergone many changes since a small group of concerned citizens met to discuss helping people in their community. Forty-five years later, our focus is still on lending a hand to local residents in need of food assistance.