Posted by Barbara Beagle on Jul 09, 2020
At our Rotary Zoom meeting on July 9, Chris Benson, Executive Director of Central Kitsap Food Bank in Silverdale since 2014, gave us a virtual update.  “We never shut down during COVID-19,” stated Benson, a retired Navy Chief.  Following very strict protocols, food bank recipients can still shop in person.  Owing to the fact that Costco, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Sprouts all donate fresh produce, the Food Bank needs a steady stream of volunteers to repackage the items in a timely manner so they don’t go to waste.  There are also provisions for high risk clients who can’t come in to shop to receive food.
 
Questions were posed to Benson, “What do you need, and what can Silverdale Rotarians do to help?”
  • “We are shoring up non-perishables for fall…and the holiday season,” he responded, because they are predicting that when the extra COVID-19 benefits run out (e.g., stimulus checks, double food stamps, and unemployment benefits), there will be increased demand.  So $$$ contributions can always be used.   The Food Bank can also leverage gift cards (like Safeway where they will give discounts).
     
  • “We need volunteers!” stated Benson.  Available volunteers are significantly reduced because many previous volunteers are high risk for the virus and have stayed away.  Hours are 9am-1:30pm M-F for volunteers.  It’s relatively easy to social distance when working in the warehouse.  Go to https://ckfoodbank.org/ to learn how to volunteer.
Other questions:
  • What about food with past due expiration dates?  Go ahead and donate, because the Food Bank has specific guidelines, especially for canned food.
  • Do you need pet food?  In a word, yes!
  • Do you need hygiene items?  Yes, including diapers and hotel-sized items for the homeless.  The Food Bank also makes their dumpsters available for the homeless to drop off trash.
  • Does anything go to waste?  They are a "zero waste facility," and the Food Bank partners with local pig and sheep farmers for that purpose.
  • What else? They use empty clean water bottles for repackaging bulk Costco-sized items.

    Chris Benson ended by thanking Silverdale Rotarians for our continued support over the years, most recently a $5,500 grant in April to address COVID-19 hunger.  This donation consisted of the last of the proceeds from the 2019 Turkey Trot and 2019 Duck Race.