If there’s a few things visitors will notice about the new Central Kitsap Food Bank, it’s that it is bigger, better and much more efficient than the old location.
While the new location is just a block from the former one, the building is certainly what most would call an upgrade.
For starters, the location is now one that the CK Food Bank can call all its own. For years, the food pantry was housed in a part of a Central Kitsap School District building. The building was more of a warehouse, where wind drafts frequently pushed through the building.
The new location is a building for the CK Food Bank alone. It stretches an impressive 7,800-square feet. The former building was 1,628-square feet. Aisles are larger than before, and will be much more easily accessible than the prior ones.
“It will still be crowded, but we won’t be as crowded as we were,” said CK Food Bank Executive Director Hoyt Burrows. “It’ll be more roomier for people. Our products will be better displayed.”
With a client list steadily growing, the pantry needed a large location to hold more food and allow clients to easily maneuver through aisles.
According to Burrows, the search for the ideal location started back in 2007. Just last year was when the food bank’s board members decided on the location just up the road.
“We wanted to stay in the core area of the Central Kitsap School District, which is the people we serve,” he said.
Staying close to the central area was a must due to the food pantry’s mile-long client list. On average, volunteers send families away with about 3,000 pounds of food per day. On April 3, nearly 4,000 pounds of food was given away, according to food pantry statistics.
While the average family is about 3.1 people per household, sometimes as many as 12 family members are coming in to visit for food, Burrows said.
With the new location comes more space, more food and the need for more volunteers.
“We will need additional volunteers because of the bigger space,” Burrows said.
Hours of operation for the new facility will remain the same: Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The new address is 3537 NW Anderson Hill Road in Silverdale.
Food for Thought
Locals offer their opinion of the new food bank
Claire Juris, 20, of Silverdale has been volunteering at the CK Food Bank for three years. She helped stock the shelves at the food bank’s new location.
“I came to the food bank when I needed help,” she said. “I didn’t have a job and I didn’t have an income. I was on my own. I wouldn’t have made it without them.”
So, now that she’s working again, she likes to give at least one day a week to the food bank. She stocks shelves or helps clients shop and carries their groceries to their vehicles. Juris said that she knew about the CK Food Bank because she had volunteered with the food bank when in high school for a class project.
“Once you start helping out here, you get hooked,” she said. “Just seeing how gracious and thankful the clients are makes you know you are doing some good in the world.”
Josh Zabel, from the Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Bangor, has helped at the food bank throughout the past year. He was there to help paint the walls as the new food bank took shape and he was there last week to help move boxes and boxes of food.
“As long as they need help, we’ll be here,” said Zabel, who is from Tennessee and has been stationed at Bangor for three years.
Zabel said it’s in his nature to want to help others.
“That’s what serving in the Navy is all about,” he said. “And when we get to do projects like this out in the community, it’s great because we get to work with local people and see the kindness that’s out there in the world.”
Merle Cotoio, an employee at the CK Food Bank, was busy directing others where to place boxes of food as the move took place last week.
“A few years ago when I needed the help, I came to this food bank and got help,” she said. “I volunteered some and a driver’s position came open and I applied and was hired.”
The new location is the answer to her prayers, and other staff, too.
“There’s room here,” she said. “We’re not all on top of each other. And we can serve our clients so much better. Once we get all the kinks out, it’s gonna have a nice, even flow.”
CK Food Bank board member Betsy Hall, helps with the CK Food Bank fundraising auction, said the new building is “such a step up.”
“The amount of space is so great,” Hall said. “The whole shopping experience for the client will improve. It will be just like going to a grocery store. At the old place, there just wasn’t enough room.”
She added that its a great location because its still close in to the core Silverdale area, but it’s more appealing.
“It’s a nicer place for clients to come to,” she said. “It looks so much more welcoming and the staff has room to move around. They’ve been sitting on top of each other for so long.”