PORT TOWNSEND — Dove House has opened its Susan Shelton Free Little Pantry, which provides people in need access to non-perishable food and hygiene necessities all times of the day and night.
The pantry is located at the sitting area on the corner of Cleveland Street and Hospital Road between Dove House and Jefferson Healthcare.
The pantry came to fruition through a donation by the family of the late Susan Shelton, a long-time supporter of Dove House.
“She was just a really kind, generous person who loved beauty,” said Bekka Bloom, Dove House development administration assistant and one of the coordinators of the pantry.
“She believed in woman who were in traumatic situations getting services.”
In addition to the pantry, the park and garden was renovated through a collaboration of community partners: Jefferson Healthcare, Mike Porter, Gaiaceous Gardens, Hope Roofing, Olympic Equipment Rental, Secret Gardens and Fred Spann.
“It’s more than just a pantry; it’s a beautiful sitting area,” Bloom said.
The pantry and garden space were dedicated on Sept. 21.
“Different people have stopped by and used it,” Bloom said. “We know it’s being used because it empties out and has to be restocked.”
The pantry is stocked with an assortment of pasta, canned goods and other non-perishable food items as well as such necessities as toilet paper, feminine hygiene products and travel-size soaps and shampoos.
Jefferson Healthcare staff are donating items to the Jefferson Healthcare Foundation for the pantry.
Porter, a Port Ludlow carpenter donated his time and skills to the project.
“Mike just became such a champion for this project,” Bloom said. “Now Mike is a volunteer at the Recovery Cafe.”
Bloom met Porter at a Port Ludlow South Bay Community Association nonprofit benefit pancake breakfast and discussed the pantry with him. Two weeks later, he discussed details with her at the Dove House offices.
The breakfast is hosted once a month by the association. The proceeds benefit a different nonprofit each month.
Bloom is searching for groups and organizations to “adopt” the pantry for a month in 2020, where the group would help keep it stocked. She would like to see these volunteers organize the pantry once a week.
People interested in donating to the pantry can send a check to Dove House Advocacy Services at 1045 10th St., in Port Townsend, with the subject line noting it’s for the pantry.
They also can bring donations of items to the front desk of Dove House between 9 a.m and noon and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].