Stephen Rosales, board president for the Sequim Food Bank, and Andra Smith, executive director, stand at the new addition at 154 W. Alder St., next to the food bank at 144 W. Alder St. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Stephen Rosales, board president for the Sequim Food Bank, and Andra Smith, executive director, stand at the new addition at 154 W. Alder St., next to the food bank at 144 W. Alder St. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim Food Bank set to expand with new property

SEQUIM — Leaders at the Sequim Food Bank look to expand its offerings once again.

Andra Smith, executive director for the facility at 144 W. Alder St., said the food bank’s board agreed to purchase a home and property next door at 154 W. Alder St. from A.J. Webb of Sequim for $140,000 with the intention of increasing operations, programs and storage.

“It just made sense to us,” Smith said. “It’s close to downtown and central to the people who need it.”

Stephen Rosales, board president for the food bank, said the board has been interested in the property for at least 12 years but that the need for space came to the forefront earlier this year.

“The Weekend Meal Program highlighted it,” he said.

This summer, the food bank’s board of directors agreed to expand the program year-round including the summer so students in need, those on free or reduced lunch in the Sequim school system, receive two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks per weekend.

Currently, volunteers prepare about 130 bags, making it the food bank’s most expensive program, Rosales said.

“With the increase in the Weekend Meal Program, we knew down the line we were going to make a decision on expanding,” Smith said.

In addition to the meal program, overall usage at the food bank is up about 5 percent from 2016 so far, which includes about 250 to 300 visits a week, Rosales said.

The food bank is purchasing the property with a monetary gift from an anonymous estate that the food bank directors opted to use to benefit the community, Smith said.

“This means our future is set to get more things for the community and meet needs better,” Rosales said.

“We’ve needed to expand,” Smith said. “You can see we’re getting full.”

In the short term, Smith said, the food bank will use the new site to increase parking so as not to impact neighboring businesses and residences.

Next year, board members will form a committee to decide on long-term plans.

A few likely projects in the new facility include moving the Weekend Meal Program there along with more storage while starting new programs.

Smith said the food bank’s needs assessment from earlier this year revealed visitors of the facility want to learn how to better budget for food and prepare more healthful meals on a budget.

“We’re looking into providing a demonstration kitchen to teach and serve people,” she said.

“We’re really excited to have the property. Now we can offer more than what we’re doing now.”

For more information on the Sequim Food Bank, call 360-683-1205 or 360-461-6038.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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