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CK Food Bank director: Need ‘never this dramatic before’

Organization sees 38 percent increase in households served in September.

As the fears of a global recession hang over everyone’s heads, many local nonprofits are feeling the effects of lost jobs and escalating costs.

The Central Kitsap Food Bank saw a rise of 38 percent in households served in September of this year compared to last year.

“We’ve seen a huge increase,” said Hoyt Burrows, director of the Central Kitsap Food Bank. “What’s really interesting is that we’ve seen a 35 percent increase in the number of individuals served. That indicates housing costs are going up so people are doubling up to save on housing costs.”

The sudden increase also caught him off guard.

“I’ve worked at food banks for 10 years and it’s never been this dramatic before,” Burrows said. “I didn’t know Wall Street would collapse — or Main Street would collapse like it is.”

But 38,262 pounds of foodstuffs were contributed in September, a 41 percent increase from last year’s volume measurement.

The demand is being met thanks to the number of donations received by churches, local businesses such as Safeway, Costco, Albertsons, Starbucks and the community at large.

“Our cash revenue hasn’t picked up as fast as it has in the past, but our produce donations are still coming in,” he said. “We’re not desperate like some of the other food banks.”

And with the holidays approaching, Burrows is expecting a significant increase from last year’s numbers.

Several food drives are springing up to help the food bank out.

Pacific Northwest Title is taking donations at its offices, including the branch in Silverdale while the Silverdale branches of American Marine Bank, Windermere Real Estate and Kitsap Credit Union, along with Dr. Michael Wagner in Old Town Silverdale and Quality Heating are pitching in with donations as well.

The Central Kitsap Presbyterian Church also is hosting a food drive through November which Burrows said will be a “big one” for the food bank.

Burrows added the food bank is now taking donations via credit card. People can call the food bank at (360) 692-9818 to set up an automatic withdrawal.

They also can set something up through their own bank as well.

Product donations also are welcomed. The most critical items are sugar, peanut butter, canned tuna, chili and cheese. Holiday items such as instant potatoes, candied yams, canned fruit and holiday cookies also are needed to fill holiday baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For those who don’t feel like they can contribute much, Burrows said any donation, no matter how big or small, is welcomed.

“Every one matters to us,” he said. “I tell folks who say they can’t give much, if everyone gave a little, it turns into a lot.”

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