Last week, Blue Mountain Tree Service, Inc. of Sequim removed trees for more parking at the Sequim Food Bank’s new property at 154 W. Alder St. It sits next door to the existing food bank at 144 W. Alder St. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Last week, Blue Mountain Tree Service, Inc. of Sequim removed trees for more parking at the Sequim Food Bank’s new property at 154 W. Alder St. It sits next door to the existing food bank at 144 W. Alder St. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Food Bank adds more parking, seeks summer support for student meals

SEQUIM — Plans to expand services at the Sequim Food Bank are underway.

On Friday, crews with Blue Mountain Tree Service Inc. of Sequim removed several large trees to make way for parking at the food bank’s new property at 154 W. Alder St.

Board members agreed late last year to purchase the property next door to the food bank at 144 W. Alder St. for $140,000 with the intention of increasing operations, programs and storage.

Board President Stephen Rosales estimates the parking will become available within two weeks.

What’s in store for the rest of the property is to be investigated by a strategic planning committee, said food bank Executive Director Andra Smith.

“We want to look at the needs of our community right now and get an understanding of the future needs and how the food bank can better serve Sequim, which includes any plans for a facility,” she said.

“It’s very important that we understand the needs of those we serve and how we can best help — whether it be improving on current programs or adding new programs. That is what will guide us as we move forward with any plans for future facilities.”

With trees pulled out, Rosales said he’s looking into bids to take down the new property’s home.

He said the home built in 1929 has too many problems to refurbish, including likely asbestos issues.

“We have a lot of ideas in our heads right now with what to do next,” Rosales said.

“Hopefully, we’ll get the building down in a few months and have a new building, whatever it may be, in one to two years.”

Food Bank officials plan to host drop-off for the U.S. Post Office’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive in the new parking area May 19. Rosales said it’s one of the few, possibly only, offices in the nation to run a week later so as not to interfere with the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Grand Parade on May 12.

The Sequim Food Bank is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, and 9 a.m. to noon Fridays and Saturdays.

Weekend Meal Bag

Leaders with the food bank plan to continue the Weekend Meal Bag Program for a second summer in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula’s lunch program.

Once school is out, the clubs provide free lunches each weekday at locations in Sequim and Port Angeles and last year food bank leaders joined in offering bags of food on Fridays for children to last for the weekend.

Smith said they estimated a need for up to 200 bags but discovered the need wasn’t quite there. However, this summer, they plan to distribute about 110 meal bags each Friday for 12 weeks available to any child at a distribution site without any criteria.

In 2017, the food bank had strong business and community support to cover costs, Smith said, and to continue the program this summer they’ll need about $10,000.

She said community members can donate through the food bank’s website at www.sequimfoodbank.org by clicking “donate,” send support via “Sequim Food Bank, P.O. Box 1453, Sequim, WA 98382,” or call 360-683-1205. Smith said she’s available to speak with community groups.

During the school year, the program recently expanded to include 12 students through Head Start, and Smith said she plans to reach out to the home-school community, too.

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