PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Food Banks have shifted their operations to pre-boxed to-go goods versus a more grocery store-style setup.
The action to limit the spread of COVID-19 allows volunteers at the four local food banks — in Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Quilcene and Brinnon — to continue to serve clients, said Mike Langenbach, board president and Brinnon Food Bank manager.
“We’ve just been been trying to keep our people safe. That is probably our biggest goal,” Langenbach said.
The Port Townsend Food Bank is located at 1925 Blaine St. and operates Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for seniors 65 and older.
It operates Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for families and individuals, according to the organization’s website.
The Quilcene Food Bank is in the Quilcene Community Center at 294952 Highway 101 and operates Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for families and individuals, according to its website.
The Brinnon Food Bank is at 151 Corey St. and operates Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for families and individuals.
So far no shortage of food or volunteers hs been seen, Langenbach said.
“We still have food and we’re making up boxes to hand out,” Langenbach said. “Our major concern is to keep our volunteers safe.
“It doesn’t sound like we have a major food problem yet,” he added.
“Everyone is showing up and food is getting delivered.”
Over the last week, the banks had about 120 families (approximately 300 people) use the Brinnon Food Bank, about 200 families (approximately 500 people) use the Tri-Area Food Bank, about 90 families (approximately 200 people) use the Quilcene Food Bank and 300 families (approximately 600-700 people) use the Port Townsend Food Bank, Langenbach said.
The numbers were a little higher than average except that the Port Townsend Food Bank saw a slight decrease during the seniors time with about 80 to 100 using it, Langenbach said.
The teams have had many of their elderly volunteers step back to protect themselves from possible exposure to COVID-19, and Langenbach said that the younger volunteers have been stepping up well to serve the people in need.
“We may run into a volunteer problem later on,” said Langenbach, explaining that Olympic Community Actions Programs (OlyCAP) has a pool of volunteers that may be able to help if needed.
People who are interested in volunteering with the food banks are encouraged to contact the branch managers directly.
Here are the managers and the phone numbers.
•Port Townsend- Shirley Moss at 360-531-0275 .
•Tri-Area- Mike Boock at 360-385-9462.
•Quilcene- Leslie Tippins at 360-765-0904 .
•Brinnon- Mike & Eloise Langenbach at 360-796-4444 .
In addition to the food banks, if people are interested in volunteering to help during the COVID-19 pandemic in general, OlyCAP is encouraging them to fill out an online form.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.