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Kingston Food Bank still roughing it
KINGSTON — When Barb Fulton drives the Kingston Food Bank into town, she notices numerous vacant buildings and lots. None of the apparent vacancies, however, are available for a food bank that has no home.
"There's 12 empty buildings in town, but nobody wants to take a tax write-off," Fulton said. “[The owners] would rather have them empty."
The food bank, which is housed in a 22-foot motor home and has no electricity, is open two days per week. Fulton, the food bank's director, and volunteers keep all the perishable foods on ice. Meanwhile, the search for a more permanent home is still coming up short and the food bank is receiving fewer donations.
"Our money donations are way down," Fulton said. "I'm concerned that people think that because we're not in [a] building, we're not taking donations. That's how we buy our groceries."
The food bank formerly received an average of $500 per month in monetary donations, Fulton said. That was cut in about half recently, she said.
The food bank moved into the motor home April 22 when it had to vacate temporary quarters provided by Windermere Real Estate. It occupied the Windermere-owned property after it lost its longtime home because the county-owned building didn’t meet code.
The food bank continues to operate just off of Lindvog Road, north of State Highway 104. Canned goods are kept in a storage unit nearby. Frozen food is kept at Fulton's home.
Food bank hours are noon to 3 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays.
The majority of the food bank's patrons continue to rely on the mobile service. However, Fulton said some people have turned to ShareNet, 26061 United Road, Kingston.
Fulton believes some of the people now using ShareNet's service don't believe the Kingston Food Bank can take care of them, Fulton said. "That's false," she said.
The food bank once served about 150 people per week.
Fulton has considered operating the food bank out of something such as a Tuff Shed, if she can find property to place it on.
While continuing to provide edible goods, the Kingston Food Bank is also providing school supplies. Families in needs of school supplies can pick them up through the first few weeks of September, Fulton said.
Fulton and the food bank volunteers are not completely alone. The Pizza Factory donates the needed ice to the food bank each day it operates. The owner of the Grub Hut still donates fruits and vegetables to the food bank every Friday. And the Borrowed Kitchen donates bread every Sunday.
"I still have my people who care," Fulton said.
Attempting to show the community what the food bank was operating in and the need it has, Fulton drove the motor home in the Kingston Fourth of July Parade.
"I was hoping if people saw what we're really in, they would say, ‘Let's put them up … ," Fulton said. "My main objective didn't work, but we had fun."