Port Townsend Food Co-op earns national recognition
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The Port Townsend Food Co-op's “Beans for Bags” program lets members who bring in reusable bags for their groceries choose from a 5-cent refund or a bean worth 5 cents that they can drop in their choice of glass gallon jars designated for three local nonprofit organizations.

By Peninsula Daily News staff

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Food Co-op's “Beans for Bags” program has earned the Food Marketing Institute's Community Outreach Small Store Retailer award for Neighborhood Health Improvement.

The Food Co-op will receive a plaque and $1,000 from the Phoenix, Ariz.-based institute.

The money will be used for “more outreach in the community,” according to the Co-op's managers.

The Co-op has never given out plastic grocery bags, instead encouraging members to bring their own reusable bags as well as containers for produce and bulk food.

Beans for Bags

Since its inception in 2008, Beans for Bags has allowed Co-op members the choice of receiving a 5-cent refund for each container or bag they bring for their groceries, or a bean worth 5 cents that they can drop in their choice of glass gallon jars designated for three local nonprofit organizations.

One of those three nonprofit organizations is always the county food bank.

The other two choices come from nominations made by the Co-op's members/owners themselves.

Those organizations typically serve local schools, including Head Start, the local National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter, the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, the homeless shelter, the animal shelter, the public library, the local hospice, a free clinic, United Good Neighbors, local farmer support, Habitat for Humanity and an abused-women's shelter, among others.

In the past four years, a total of $35,092.62 has been donated to these organizations.

“Every bean is equal to 12/3 pounds of food from Food Life Line, where we order our food from,” said Shirley Moss, the Jefferson County Food Bank manager.

“If we didn't have the contribution from the Food Co-op, it would be very difficult to provide for all of these people.”

Last year was the best in the Beans for Bags program's history, with donations totaling $8,056.80.

Last modified: January 24. 2013 6:47PM
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