Port Townsend Food Bank needs more cash donations

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — It is a natural act of kindness to bring extra food to the food bank, but it is not the most efficient or cost-effective way to fulfill its purpose.

“We appreciate when people bring in food that is surplus or that they no longer need for some reason,” said Port Townsend Food Bank Director Shirley Moss.

“But we would like to discourage them from buying food for donation since we are able to buy food more cheaply than what you pay at the supermarket.”

Moss said she appreciates the gesture if someone goes to the supermarket, buys $30 worth of groceries and brings it to the food bank in the Mountain View Community Center, 1925 Blaine St.

She would prefer the $30 be given as a cash donation, since that would allow the food bank to purchase nearly 1,000 pounds of food.

This is possible through an agreement with Food Lifeline, a Shoreline-based food distribution center that services food banks throughout Western Washington, which offers approximately 33 pounds of food for each dollar spent.

Cash contributions also have a greater reach than a local grocery donation, since the cash is used to support food banks in Port Townsend, Chimacum, Quilcene and Brinnon.

Each Friday, food banks log onto the Food Lifeline website to see what’s available and place their weekly orders.

In Port Townsend’s case, the food is dropped off at the Olympic Community Action Programs warehouse in Chimacum, and Moss shuttles it to the food bank.

The project often requires multiple trips.

This week, she purchased assorted dry goods, juice, yogurt and cottage cheese among other items — 2,879 pounds of food for $83.67.

The Port Townsend Food Bank, which distributes food from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Wednesday, serves between 210 and 260 families each week.

Aside from cash donations, food co-op customers can support the food bank by placing the beans they receive for bringing their own shopping bag into the food bank jar.

At the end of the month, the co-op counts the beans and makes a cash contribution to the food bank based on the number of beans coll­ected.

For information about the food bank, phone Moss at 360-531-0275.

Checks and contributions can be sent to P.O. Box 1795, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

Cash donation boxes are located at the Port Townsend Safeway and the food co-op.

Contributions are tax-deductible, and Moss sends a tax receipt to each contributor.

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 20. 2011 12:17AM
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