Port Orchard food bank loses 20,000 lbs of food in flood waters

A South Kitsap County food bank is drying out and asking for help, after losing 20,000 pounds of food meant to help people dealing with food insecurity.

The storage room where the dry food items were kept flooded overnight Monday.

(South Kitsap Helpline)

Video obtained by FOX 13 News shows what staff members at South Kitsap Helpline found when they walked down the stairs. 

"There’s about 12 inches of water," said a staff member. "We’ve lost a lot of product." 

On Tuesday and into Wednesday, staff members spent the day cleaning out the storage area and tossing out wet items like pasta, rice, crackers and more. 

"We have a really great staff," said executive director Jennifer Hardison. "Bags of rice weigh a lot, imagine what that was like lifting them all soaked." 

South Kitsap Helpline food bank estimates it helps 400 households a week. Hardison said the nonprofit has seen a massive increase in people needing food assistance since the pandemic and federal funding for SNAP benefits going away.

"We have two-people-income households struggling," said Hardison. "It’s sad to think that we know have less items that we can give out when we open back up on Thursday."

The food bank said it’s desperate for items like mac & cheese, pasta and rice.

"We’ve heard some people say they’re going to do a pasta or rice drive, and that’s nice," said Hardison. "We’re hoping we get some food donations, but it could mean our groceries are a little thinner than they normally are."

On Wednesday, most of the storage area was cleaned out.

"It’s still a little damp, but we’re working through it," said Hardison.

South Kitsap Helpline said it is getting a large storage box on Monday to help with their dry foods.

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"We're hoping some of it will be salvageable. We also have plans for a new building," said Hardison. "We’re used to minor flooding, but nothing like what we saw this week. We hope to break ground later in the spring and continue doing the work we do."

If you’re interested in helping the food bank, Hardison said people can donate dry food items at its Port Orchard location during hours of operation. 

Recommended foods include:

  • Mac & cheese
  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Crackers
  • Cookies

You can also help by donating to the South Kitsap Helpline website.