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New Central Kitsap Food Bank construction almost done
It won’t be long before the Central Kitsap Food Bank has a new place to call home.
If all goes well, the public can expect the location on NW Anderson Hill Road to open in the next few months. The building is under construction for code upgrades and is formerly known as the Tri-Star Installation building.
“Construction’s coming along,” said Hoyt Burrows, executive director of CK Food Bank. “We’re just smiling and going on with business.”
Burrows had hoped to get into the new location prior to handing out Christmas food baskets, but that didn’t happen.
This week, the new location — just down the road from the current one — will be installed with a new walk-in freezer and walk-in cooler.
“It’s exciting to know we’re gonna have more room to operate,” said Burrows. “It’s really exciting for me to know it’s not gonna be crowded for people shopping.”
During the month of December alone, the food bank served a total of 2,951 individuals. Most families take home around 25 to 30 pounds of food per person once a month, Burrows said.
On average, the pantry gives away 3,000 pounds of food per day. Most of it goes to those in the Central Kitsap School District area.
As the site is now, when clients visit it doesn’t take long for the narrow aisles to get crowded: only one person can scoot down an aisle with a cart while shopping. Crates of food are always stacked high, and three administrative desks are jammed between bookshelves and other clerical items.
The new location will allow volunteers and staff to serve clients with ease, which was one of the main goals of moving to a new building, and also why it took so long to find one.
“It was hard to find,”said Robert Butterton, CK Food Bank board president. “We just kept coming back to this one building. The price was right; the location was perfect.”
Food storage alone at the new spot is as large as the entire space the food pantry takes up at the current building. While the space along is an exciting prospect of the move, the financial benefit is also a tremendous perk as well, Butterton said.
Currently, staff must store additional food at off-site storage, which costs the pantry in gas and rental space. With a larger building, those costs will disappear, Butterton said.
The new location was half funded by a grant given by the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust. The rest is coming from fundraising that’s occurred over the last five years, along with various donations, Burrows said.
“We will continue to seek grants to pay the rest of it,” he said. “We appreciate the community support, and anyone who would like to make a contribution to our new building, it would definitely be appreciated.”
Long before the grant idea came along, CK Food Bank board members were looking for ways to move from the location the pantry had been in since 1992.
The current location is inside a corner of a Central Kitsap School District building.
“We sort of stumbled upon the C. Keith Birkenfeld grant,” Butterton said.
In addition to the grant, Butterton and Burrows both agreed that community help is what made it all happen. The board president also noted that Eric Johnson of Johnson Homes, guided and assisted early on in the process. Johnson is in charge of construction on site.
“He really has done an outstanding job at an affordable price,” Butterton said.
When it comes time for the move, Burrows expects that everything will be finished in a weekend.
Once moved in, the food pantrywill have a grand opening to welcome clients.
“We’ve already got Navy guys on standby and youth groups that wanna help,” Burrows said.