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Kingston Food Bank may soon become homeless

From right, Kingston Food Bank director Barb Fulton talks to a client Jan. 23 at the food bank’s new location. The food bank continues its search for a permanent home.      - Kipp Robertson / File photo
From right, Kingston Food Bank director Barb Fulton talks to a client Jan. 23 at the food bank’s new location. The food bank continues its search for a permanent home.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / File photo

KINGSTON — The Kingston Food Bank, which has helped those less fortunate in Kingston for more than 50 years, may soon be without a home.

This month, the food bank must move out of the space that Windermere Real Estate in Kingston has let it use rent-free, at 26569 Lindvog Road, since January.

Windermere co-owner Carter Dotson said he notified the food bank about a month ago that there was interest in the space and that he’d need to get it market-ready. “A number of people have been stopping by and taking a peek in,” he said. “We have no takers yet, but people are circling.”

He said the food bank’s move-out date is “loosely” April 22.

“We’ve tried to help them out as much as we can,” Dotson said. “We gave them space rent-free. We donated 50 turkeys to them around the holidays. We just approved a donation to them through the Windermere Foundation of a $500 gift certificate to Albertsons. And I’ve been making calls to help them find a permanent residence. My understanding is they are not able to pay any rent anywhere. That is a deterrent for building owners.”

Still, Dotson said he hopes food bank director Barb Fulton can find a new home for the food bank; in the time that the food bank was in the Lindvog Road space, it was apparent to Dotson that it provides a vital service.

“Clearly, she is doing some pretty miraculous work there,” Dotson said. “There’s a pretty steady stream of folks coming in. I’m hopeful she’s able to find a permanent home.”

Of Fulton, he said, “She has a very big heart and is doing some nice things for people here.”

Fulton said there are no prospects for a new home, adding that her only option may be to use a 22-foot motor home and van she owns. “We don’t have a game plan, no place to go at the moment,” Fulton said.

The food bank is open Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 3 p.m. The phone numbers are the same: 297-4861 and 297-7100. Kingston Food Bank also has a Facebook page.

The food bank was forced to leave its previous site, which it shared with a VFW post and a church, because the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department plans to demolish the building, which it owns. County Parks Director Jim Dinwiddie said in an earlier interview that the building has sustained considerable water damage from leaks and needs approximately $90,000 in renovations — money the county doesn’t have. The VFW post and Faith Community Church also moved out.

The food bank serves approximately 150 people a week, Fulton said. Clients can get one “main food box” a month, and come in on Wednesdays and Fridays for fresh fruits and vegetables. Fulton said most clients are age 40 and older. Some are homeless, between the ages of 16-21. Of homeless teens, she estimates that five or six live outside, others stay with friends.

The Kingston Food Bank is one of two food banks in Kingston. ShareNet Food Bank is larger and serves a broader base; the Kingston Food Bank serves older residents, homeless residents, and people who rely on foot or pedal power.

“A majority of the people that come down here are on foot,” Windermere co-owner Mike Pitts said of the food bank. “It is obvious something needs to be down here.”

Food bank volunteer Barbara Kaytor said April 10 was the first day someone had not signed up for the organization’s services.

Kaytor began volunteering at the food bank two years ago. Kaytor was once a food bank client, and vowed to help once she was able to.

“It’s a nice feeling to be able to give back and help,” she said.

Kaytor said if it comes down to it, using the motor home and van can work. However, that will require food to be moved in and out frequently. In the winter, food will have to be transferred to and from storage to the vehicles twice a week — when the food bank is open. It will also require the food bank to find a place to park.

Still, Kaytor has already heard many who frequent the food bank asking where it will move. So far, the only answer is it will be parked somewhere.

 

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