South Kitsap Helpline receives grant for new truck

The food bank received a “much-needed” new truck that will assist in picking up and hauling food donations.

South Kitsap Helpline got an early “Christmas present” last month.

The food bank received a “much-needed” new truck that will assist in picking up and hauling food donations.

“It feels like Christmas,” said Jennifer Hardison, South Kitsap Helpline executive director.

The food bank has a 2015 Ford E450 commercial cutaway van with a lift gate.

Hardison said SK Helpline submitted an application for a grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound (ECF).

“At the time, we asked for a used truck that would cost less,” Hardison said. “But a couple of the representatives from the board of trustees came out and did a site visit. They were impressed with what we were doing and asked us why we’re asking for a used truck?”

The board representatives asked Hardison to provide some estimates for a new truck. ECF awarded the food bank with a $50,000 grant.

“We were awarded a nice grant to buy the truck,” she said. “We are so excited.”

The truck was purchased from Titus Will Ford and includes a warranty.

“This is such an incredibly generous donation that will make picking up food for our food bank much easier and so much more efficient,” Hardison said.

She said the food bank’s older truck will be used as a backup.

“It was nickel-and-diming us to death,” Hardison said.

Collette Ogle, program officers for the ECF, said ECF helps fund non-profit human and health agencies.

“We have been around since 1951 and we are not the Boeing Co., ” Ogle said. “We are the Employees Community Fund of the Boeing Co. It’s the employees’ dollars from their paychecks that are pooled together.”

She estimated the fund receives about $9 million annually from Boeing employees.

“We fund agencies with direct client service,” Ogle said. “We fund those capital items like the box truck for South Kitsap Helpline.”

Ogle said ECF helps fund United Way of Kitsap County annually, along with Kitsap Mental Health, Boys & Girls Club of Bremerton, Kitsap Applied Technologies and West Sound Treatment Center in Port Orchard during the past two years.

According to their website, ECF is an employee-owned and managed charitable giving program. ECF has been building better communities and making a positive impact in the Puget Sound region where our employees live and work.

ECF makes grants to local 501(c)3 health and human service nonprofits, such as food banks, job training programs, shelters, transitional housing, mental health services, low-income medical clinics, youth programs and more.

ECF is managed by a Board of Trustees made up of eight Boeing employees who serve a two-year term. They are elected by the employees who contribute to the fund.