Alaska fishermen, Oregon foundation help feed military families

A partnership of Sitka based commercial fishermen, an Oregon based domestic non-profit and the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska is helping Alaska’s military families to fill their freezers with a total of 50,000 pounds of donated wild Alaska seafood.

The project, funded through Sitka’s Catch Together, grew from conversations between The Wave Foundation, Alaskans Own, Food Fleet, Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, retired, and Armed Services YMCA of Alaska. Through their conversations they identified a way for commercial harvesters to provide high quality protein rich seafood to military members this winter.

“Alaskans Own is incredibly honored to have our fish going to Alaska’s military members and their families,” said Linda Behnken, a veteran commercial harvester and director of Alaskans Own. “We’re so grateful to be able to support their service in this way and ensure that they have the chance to enjoy Alaska’s seafood bounty.”

Justin Zeulner, founder and director of The Wave Foundation, also praised the new partnership that connected small boat fishermen with the Armed Services YMCA.

Sarah Riffer, executive director of the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska, said the YMCA is thankful for the new partnership with Alaska’s fishermen and thrilled to be able to provide these families with the opportunity to fill their freezers with nutritious, sustainably caught Alaska seafood.

More information about the Armed Services YMCA and upcoming fish and other food distributions is at