Bischoff Food Bank opens new location on KP

No longer mobile, food bank is back serving the needy

Staff writerJuly 2, 2014 

Ed Townson loads bread into a box at the Key Peninsula Bischoff Food Bank on Wednesday, June 25. The food bank recently moved to a new, permanent location.

KAREN MILLER/GATEWAY PHOTO

It’s been three long months, but the Bischoff Food Bank now has a home.

Forced to close its Key Center location about three months ago, the operation went mobile. It moved to a permanent location at 1916 KP N, Lakebay, this month.

Ed Townson, 71, has been volunteering at the food bank for two years. He’s volunteered around the area before, even cooking in the church kitchen where Bischoff first opened and using the food bank himself. A widower, he had time to help out and the food bank seemed the like the perfect spot.

“Heck, why not?” he asked.

The new space had its grand opening June 21. According to Townson, 183 people and 54 families received food.

“For our first day after being closed, that was an exceptionally large number,” he said.

Volunteer Kimberly Miller, who started working at the food bank in 2009, said that the most rewarding part of the opening was the reaction of the clients. The hugs, kisses and smiles made her feel good about the move.

All who work at the food bank are volunteers; there is no paid staff.

The new location is a work in progress, but there’s a vision. The living room is the reception area. The bedrooms each have a purpose. The kitchen allows for staff to wash produce. The closets? There’s one packed to the brim with chips.

On Wednesday morning, a shipment of bread arrived. Scott Olson donates his time and his red Dodge 2500 truck to bring in shipments of food and haul a trailer. He’s been with the organization for about a year and a half.

Unlike other food banks, Bischoff does not require an address to receive assistance. It also allows weekly, rather than monthly, pickups. Those in need can get milk, bread and produce multiple times a week.

“We serve anyone that needs,” Townson said.

The purpose of weekly pickup and access to produce is to serve people in the community that are homeless. Both Townson and Miller said that the number of homeless on the peninsulas is underestimated.

“You’d be surprised at the number that are (living) in these trees,” Townson said.

It was imperative to open in the summer, Miller said, because families with children would be without needed programs like school lunches and Food Backpacks 4 Kids.

The Bischoff food bank began in the Key Peninsula Lutheran Church. Absorbed by the FISH group of food banks a few years back, the operation moved to Key Center. This new operation is its third official location.

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155 karen.miller@gateline.com Twitter: @Gateway_Karen

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