Food bank is here to help families of all kinds | Guest Viewpoint

Carter Swartout
Posted 5/20/21

As the effects of the pandemic continue, it is ever more important to be informed about the resources within our community. The Port Townsend Food Bank strives to help those with food insecurity and …

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Food bank is here to help families of all kinds | Guest Viewpoint

Posted

As the effects of the pandemic continue, it is ever more important to be informed about the resources within our community. The Port Townsend Food Bank strives to help those with food insecurity and to supplement families, taking a burden off of their collective shoulders. 

I’m Carter, one of the many volunteers here, and I’ve seen the monumental differences that the food bank can have on families. My hope is that our community understands more about the food bank and takes advantage of this impactful resource.

The process for obtaining food from the food bank is quick and easy. On Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., people may drive up through Mountain View’s parking lot and toward the food bank. From there, we will direct your car to the front, where I or another volunteer will walk to your car to take your “order.” 

We will ask how many people the order is for, and offer you a selection of meats, produce and much more, allowing us to personalize your order to meet your needs and preferences. Shortly after, a volunteer will roll out a shopping cart full of food and load it directly into your car. After that, you’re finished! 

We require no documentation or proof of need, this service is for everyone. The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes and doesn’t even require you to leave your vehicle. 

What if you don’t have a car, or don’t have access to a kitchen? 

We will still gladly be able to assist you. 

Walk, bike, or take public transportation to the food bank, and a volunteer will take your order just outside the doors. From there, we will get you your food and supply you with bags to carry it, if necessary. For those camping or without a kitchen, we have food, supplies, and volunteers here specifically to help you. While living without these amenities is challenging, we will do our utmost to make it as convenient as possible.

For those over 65 years old, we’d like to extend the opportunity to come to “Senior Saturdays” from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. We recently opened our doors to the public and are allowing individuals to come inside and pick their food themselves. We only ask that those who come on Saturdays are over 65, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. If you have any questions, please reach out and give us a call at 360-531-0275.

The food that we distribute out varies from week to week. To gain an appreciation for the benefits the food bank can provide for a family, I created an order that would be typical for a family of three. 

To realize the value of the order, I went to a local grocery store’s website to see how much this food would have cost directly from that store. After I added the prices of each item, the total came out to about $200. 

This helps put into context the massive impact the food bank can have on a family. We have this amazing resource that can go above and beyond because of the incredible support we have from those who donate. Our contributors range from individual donors who allow us to purchase foods in bulk to the large organic gardens in the area (which will be harvesting soon). Each donation gives us the opportunity to care for the community in a personalized way, providing an experience that can suit everyone.

I finally wanted to highlight two common misconceptions about the food bank. 

They’re the ideas “that we only can serve those in the most desperate of situations,” and “by receiving food when you are not in that position, you are taking a meal out of a needier mouth.” 

I’m happy to say that these are not the case. 

The food bank exists not just to assist those who don’t have a dollar for their next meal, but to aid families by removing some of the financial strain that the cost of food can bring. It allows families to not spend such a large portion of their income on food, but on other living costs. 

This means that money can go toward other necessary expenses, much-needed repair on a car, or even to the prices of a child’s sport, giving families a deserved break.

(Carter Swartout is a volunteer at the Port Townsend Food Bank.)

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