Stephen Rosales, board president for the Sequim Food Bank, and Andra Smith, executive director, stand at the new addition at 154 W. Alder St., next to the food bank at 144 W. Alder St. Smith said so far they’ll use it for additional parking and make plans for the building sometime in 2018. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Stephen Rosales, board president for the Sequim Food Bank, and Andra Smith, executive director, stand at the new addition at 154 W. Alder St., next to the food bank at 144 W. Alder St. Smith said so far they’ll use it for additional parking and make plans for the building sometime in 2018. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Sequim Food Bank set to expand with new property

Leaders at the Sequim Food Bank, 144 W. Alder St., look to expand its offerings once again.

Andra Smith, executive director for the facility, said the food bank’s board agreed to purchase a home and property next door at 154 W. Alder St. from A.J. Webb of Sequim for $140,000 with the intention to increase operations, programs and storage.

“It just made sense to us,” Smith said. “It’s close to downtown and central to the people who need it.”

Stephen Rosales, board president for the food bank, said they’ve been interested in the property for at least 12 years but the need for space came to the forefront earlier this year.

“The Weekend Meal Program highlighted it,” he said.

This summer, the food bank’s board of directors agreed to expand the program year-round including the summer so that students in-need, on free or reduced lunch in the Sequim school system, receive two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks.

Currently, volunteers prepare about 130 bags each week making it the food bank’s most expensive program, Rosales said.

“With the increase in the Weekend Meal Program, we knew down the line we were going to make a decision on expanding,” Smith said.

As the meal program expanded, Rosales said overall usage at the food bank is up about 5 percent from 2016 so far, which includes about 250-300 visits a week.

In order to purchase the property, the food bank received a monetary gift from an anonymous estate, Smith said, that the food bank directors opted to use to benefit the community.

“This means our future is set to get more things for the community and meet needs better,” Rosales said.

“We’ve needed to expand,” Smith said. “You can see we’re getting full.”

Next steps

In the short-term, Smith said they’ll use the new site to increase parking so as not to impact neighboring businesses and residences.

Next year, board members will form a committee to decide on long-term plans.

A few likely projects in the new facility include moving the Weekend Meal Program there along with more storage while starting new programs.

Smith said the food bank’s needs assessment from earlier this year revealed visitors of the facility want to learn how to better budget for food and prepare healthier meals on a budget.

“We’re looking into providing a demonstration kitchen to teach and serve people,” she said.

“We’re really excited to have the property. Now we can offer more than what we’re doing now.”

For more information on the Sequim Food Bank, call 683-1205 or 461-6038.

Thanksgiving time

The food bank is preparing to distribute up to 900 turkey dinners for Thanksgiving and 700 for Christmas, Rosales said.

Distribution days for Thanksgiving are as follows: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 17-18; noon-4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20.

A free Thanksgiving Community Dinner continues for the second year from noon-2 p.m. on Thanksgiving at the Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St. Organizers request families and individuals RSVP by Nov. 18 to 360-797-0212. Transportation assistance available.

The meal is an event sponsored in partnership with the Olympic Peninsula Healthy Community Coalition, Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula, Sequim Food Bank, Molina Health Care, Walmart, Olympic Medical Center, Costco, Security Services Northwest, Price Ford, and Rainshadow Coffee.

The food bank will be closed Friday, Nov. 24.

Isabelle Dunlop, a volunteer at the Sequim Food Bank, readies produce for visitors prior to a distribution day. Food bank leaders plan to expand operations in some capacity in 2018 at a house directly west of the property.

Isabelle Dunlop, a volunteer at the Sequim Food Bank, readies produce for visitors prior to a distribution day. Food bank leaders plan to expand operations in some capacity in 2018 at a house directly west of the property.

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