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Food Bank hits the road, now operating out of a motor home

Barb Fulton stands outside the doorway of her motor home, which  now houses the Kingston Food Bank, April 24. She’s still looking for a permanent home for the food bank, which has served Kingston for 57 years.    - Kipp Robertson / Staff photo
Barb Fulton stands outside the doorway of her motor home, which now houses the Kingston Food Bank, April 24. She’s still looking for a permanent home for the food bank, which has served Kingston for 57 years.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Staff photo

KINGSTON — The Kingston Food Bank condensed into a 22-foot motor home April 22 after leaving its temporary home in the Windermere office building off Lindvog Road.

“We are out,” food bank director Barb Fulton said.

The motor home was parked in a turnout just up the street from Windermere April 24 and 26. Fulton plans to move the motor home to the parking lot of the food bank’s former site, which it shared with the VFW and a church, next to Kola Kole Park.

Fulton rented a storage unit near the Windermere office to hold all the canned goods. The freezers holding all the frozen food were moved into her husband’s work shop, she said.

“It was an awful lot to move out of [the office building],” Fulton said.

Windermere co-owner Carter Dotson told the North Kitsap Herald he notified the food bank more than a month earlier that there was interest in the space and that he’d need to get it market-ready.

“A number of people have been stopping by and taking a peek in,” he said in a previous interview. “We have no takers yet, but people are circling.”  He said the food bank’s move-out date was “loosely” April 22.

“We’ve tried to help them out as much as we can,” Dotson said. “We gave them space rent-free. We donated 50 turkeys to them around the holidays. We just approved a donation to them through the Windermere Foundation of a $500 gift certificate to Albertsons. And I’ve been making calls to help them find a permanent residence.

“My understanding is they are not able to pay any rent anywhere. That is a deterrent for building owners.”

Still, Dotson said he hopes Fulton can find a new home for the food bank; in the time that the food bank was in the Lindvog Road space, it was apparent to Dotson that it provides a vital service.

“Clearly, she is doing some pretty miraculous work there,” Dotson said. “There’s a pretty steady stream of folks coming in. I’m hopeful she’s able to find a permanent home.”

Of Fulton, he said, “She has a very big heart and is doing some nice things for people here.”

On her first day of operating out of her motor home,  Fulton said there were no prospects for a permanent home for the food bank, but “we’re still hopeful.”

The food bank is open Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 3 p.m. You can reach Fulton by cell, (360) 860-0971. Kingston Food Bank also has a Facebook page.

The food bank was forced to leave its previous site, which 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.

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.

The Kingston Food Bank is one of two food banks in Kingston. ShareNet Food Bank is larger and serves a broader base; the Kingston Food Bank serves older residents, homeless residents, and people who rely on foot or pedal power.

“A majority of the people that come down here are on foot,” Windermere co-owner Mike Pitts said of the food bank. “It is obvious something needs to be down here.”

While still in the Windermere building, food bank volunteer Barbara Kaytor said April 10 was the first day someone had not signed up for the organization’s services.

Kaytor began volunteering at the food bank two years ago. Kaytor was once a food bank client, and vowed to help once she was able to.

“It’s a nice feeling to be able to give back and help,” she said.

Kaytor said if it comes down to it, using the motor home and van can work. However, that will require food to be moved in and out frequently. In the winter, food will have to be transferred to and from storage to the vehicles twice a week  when the food bank is open. It will also require the food bank to find a place to park.

As the food bank prepared to move out of the Windermere building, Kaytor was asked by many clients where the food bank would move to.

So far, the only answer is it will be parked somewhere.

 

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