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Kingston Food Bank safe for now
KINGSTON — The Kingston Food Bank is settled into its cozy new quarters. But the new site, in the Windermere Real Estate building on 26569 Lindvog Road NE at Highway 104, is temporary. And so the search for a permanent home continues.
“We are settled in. We’re not sure about a permanent place yet, but we still have our feelers out,” said Barb Fulton, food bank director.
The food bank is open Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 3 p.m. The phone numbers are the same: 297-4861 and 297-7100. Kingston Food Bank also has a Facebook page.
The food bank was forced to leave the site it shared with a VFW post and a church because the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department plans to demolish the building, which it owns. County Parks Director Jim Dinwiddie said in an earlier interview that the building has sustained considerable water damage from leaks and needs approximately $90,000 in renovations — money the county doesn’t have. The VFW post and Faith Community Church also moved out.
Windermere is letting the food bank have the space rent-free until it’s leased. The food bank only pays for utilities and phone. “It’s nice and open, a wonderful clean building,” Fulton said. “Windermere has gone out of [its] way to make us feel at home.”
The food bank has had to pare down to fit into the 800 square feet, half the size of its previous location. “We’re compacting the best we can,” Fulton said. “We’ve cut back to coats and jackets on our clothing rack. The food, we’ve worked it out the best we can. We’ve got boxes under tables.”
And so the search is on for a site within walking distance of the downtown core — not any further than the Windermere building — to accommodate the food bank clients who walk.
The food bank serves approximately 150 people a week, Fulton said. Clients can get one “main food box” a month, and come in on Wednesdays and Fridays for fresh fruits and vegetables. Fulton said most clients are age 40 and older. Some are homeless, between the ages of 16-21. Of homeless teens, she estimates that five or six live outside, others stay with friends.
Fulton said she hopes to meet “someone with a building who has a big heart and wants a tax write-off” and can provide a new, permanent home for the food bank. She said it could be a secondary building in a residential zone. She thinks the food bank would be a good fit with the other community services planned for the Village Green.
Fulton is confident the food bank will find a new, permanent home. “The community is totally wonderful,” she said. “The Kiwanis Club and the Boy Scouts have food drives for us, private organizations have food drives, we get a lot of community donations. The Kiwanis bought us a new freezer. Most of what we get is from the community.”
The Kingston Food Bank was founded more than 50 years ago by Fulton’s parents. It operated out of the VFW building for about 40 years. Fulton’s committed to keeping it going.
“It was important to my mom and my dad,” she said, adding that three generations of her family have worked for the food bank. Continuing the family food bank tradition: “My great-granddaughter. She’s 1 and she likes to take food off the shelves,” Fulton quipped.
The Kingston Food Bank serves people in the downtown area.
ShareNet is located out of town — at 26061 United Road, Kingston — and operates a food bank and thrift store. It also provides emergency assistance to families facing eviction or utility cutoff because of financial crisis. ShareNet’s service area includes Kingston, Eglon, Hansville, Indianola, Little Boston, Port Gamble, and some border addresses in Poulsbo and Suquamish.
Mark Ince, executive director of ShareNet, said both organizations meet needs in the community.
“For a small subset of people who live downtown and have no transportation, it’s valuable to be able to walk to the [Kingston] food bank,” he said. “[Kingston] is a small place to have two food banks, but [ShareNet and Kingston Food Bank] are two different organizations with two different scopes of services and service areas. Because they’re so different, the community can accommodate them.”