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Whaling Days’ 21+ Club nets $1,200 for food bank
Every year when the pancake gobbling and duck racing ends, Vicky Webb hands over one big check to the Central Kitsap Food Bank.
A Whaling Days tradition, Webb and a crew of about 30 volunteers serve up drinks in the 21 + Club, earning tips and donating them to the food bank.
This year being no different, Webb’s team tallied $1,219 in three days — up from last year’s $1,160 — and presented the money Wednesday to Hoyt Burrows, executive director of the food bank.
“Without partnerships like this, there’d be no way we could continue operating,” Burrows said of the beer garden donation. “We have a generous donor base who contributes to us.”
Burrows said the money will go into the food bank’s general fund, helping to purchase food for those in need.
The food bank, Burrows added, doles out between 30,000 and 35,000 pounds of food every month and contributions from local donors like Webb make that possible. They also offer hygiene products, cleaning supplies and baby care items to those down on their luck.
Webb, who also volunteers for the Tracyton Soccer Club, launched the beer garden tip-donating idea about 10 years ago and it’s been a hit ever since.
“We decided we wanted to keep our money local and give it to people who need it,” she said. “Nobody needs it more than the food bank.”
Over the years the idea has caught on, as beer garden visitors and the Silverdale community has backed the idea.
“We had one lady who gave $10 for every drink she bought,” Webb said. “We’re so grateful for the Old Town community supporting us.”
The crux of the beer garden’s success is finding people who are willing to work for free, and who want to volunteer every year, Webb said.
“You have to have people who will work for nothing and give up their tips,” she explained. “Once they come, they continue to come back.”
Webb thanked all of the volunteers as well as the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for patrolling the area and the Rucker Group, a local business which allowed the 21 + Club to use its parking lot for space.
The 21 + Club donation comes during a particularly important time because the food bank has been particularly busy of late as food, fuel and the cost of living continues to rise.
“It’s hit everybody,” Webb said.
Other than four part-time employees, the food bank is run entirely by volunteers, meaning it could use a little extra help.
“We’re always looking for volunteers,” Burrows said.
Burrows and vice president Cindy Saunders praised the Silverdale community for its generosity.
“We are well-supported by the community,” Saunders said. “Our shelves are not bare, and this is why.”
Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to visit the food bank at 3790 Anderson Hill Road in Silverdale. For more information, call (360) 692-9818.