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Post Office food drive collects 6,796 pounds for CK Food Bank

Central Kitsapers pitched in on Saturday to help their neighbors with the 13th annual National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.

All the food collected Saturday went to local food banks. The Central Kitsap Food Bank was still collecting and weighing food on Monday afternoon. Not including the food from Seabeck, the food bank had collected 6,796 pounds of food and non-perishable items, CK Food Bank warehouse manager Joe Cargile said. He expects anywhere from 500-1,000 pounds of items from Seabeck.

Although the numbers were down from last year’s 15,000 pounds of donations, the drive will still help the food bank get through the summer months.

“It’s a little lower than in past years, but it’s still a good turnout,” Cargile said.

The summer months are generally slower for the food bank, Cargile said, but sometimes there are surprises. Last month, for instance, the need was actually lower than average.

Central Kitsapers left non-perishable items — food or hygiene supplies — at or around their mailbox Saturday and postal carriers picked the items up.

Once the items were collected, they were taken to the post office and weighed. From there, Cargile volunteered his time, along with CK Food Bank directer Christine Bolinger, to sort through the donations and check the dates on the food to make sure it was all good.

Sometimes, the expiration dates don’t have to be checked to know an item cannot be distributed, Cargile said, using a 12-pack of Pepsi One as an example. The box was dirty and on the front of the box there was a promotion for a Star Wars movie, but not the one that will be released at midnight tonight. This promotion was for Star Wars Episode I, and, like the copyright on the movie, the expiration date on the Pepsi One was dated 1999.

“If 99 percent of it looks good, chances are it’s all good,” Cargile said. “But we do check the dates because we don’t want to give our clients anything bad.”

The usable items were taken to the food bank’s storage unit where it will be stored until it is taken to the food bank next to Central Kitsap High School to be distributed.

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