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Port Orchard food bank loses thousands of pounds of food due to flooding

The basement where South Kitsap Helpline stores their dry foods was flooded by heavy rainfall early this week. They lost about two to three months of dry food.

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — A South Kitsap County food bank is asking for help after losing around 20,000 pounds of food meant to be given out to community members in need. The room where they store their dry foods, like pasta, rice, and crackers, was flooded overnight Monday into Tuesday.

South Kitsap Helpline food bank serves around 400 households per week. The food bank’s Executive Director Jennifer Harbison said they have seen a big increase in people needing food assistance since pandemic era emergency federal funding for SNAP benefits went away this past spring, giving people less money for food.

“It’s much higher than it has been in the past,” said Harbison.

December is also a busy time for the food bank, with many people in need of food around the holiday season, which is why this flood came at such a bad time, ruining around two to three months of dry foods.

“We're desperate for things like mac and cheese, pasta, and rice,” said Harbison. “To lose all of that when we need it really badly, it was pretty disheartening.”

When staff walked into the basement where the room is stored, they found about one foot of water and boxes of food floating around. Nearly all the food in the room was lost, due to being damaged by water or condensation. They were able to give some food to a local pig farmer so it did not all go to waste.

South Kitsap Helpline is getting a new storage box on Monday to hold their dry foods and they already have plans for a new building they are fundraising for that they plan to break ground on this spring.

“It can't happen soon enough, but we're making this work for the time being,” said Harbison. “But as you can see, it's far less than ideal.”

But for now, they are asking for dry food and money donations, because no matter the impacts from the flood, they say they will continue to serve the community during their regular days and hours.

“We're tough,” said Harbison. “We open tomorrow at noon for regular services.”

If you want to help, Harbison said you can donate dry food items to their food bank in Port Orchard during the hours they are open. Recommended foods to donate are mac and cheese, pasta, oatmeal, rice, crackers, and cookies. You can also help by donating money online


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