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Big goings on at KF Food Bank

August 16, 2013

Kettle Falls Community Chest Director Susan Urhausen displays the limits of two small refrigerators.

After a long hiatus, the Kettle Falls Community Chest remodel has finally started. The building had housed both the Food Bank and the Thrift Store; due to lack of room, the Thrift Store had to be closed. “Yes, we are going to re-open it. It was based on donations only, we never had a fixed price on anything, and we’ve lost $4,000 in revenue per year; that doesn’t seem like a lot, but those are donations. We don’t pay for any of the items that we have, and we don’t demand prices on anything—at all,” said Director Susan Urhausen. Remodel highlights The remodel will include a new roof, electrical repairs, changing the lay-out of the building, and walk-in refrigerators. “This is what started it: the need for walk-ins. I only have two small refrigerators. I have turned away fresh fruit because I can’t refrigerate it,” said Urhausen. “We hope that we not only bring ourselves into the 21st century, but that we could also handle the north end of Stevens County, holding things for the Orient food bank, Northport food bank, and maybe the Hunters food bank.” The budget for the remodel is $150,000; Urhausen hopes to have everything completed by spring 2014. “We have, through saving and grants, gotten about $40,000 of it already. We need $110,000 from our generous neighbors,” said Urhausen. Donors can also specify that funds be used strictly for the remodel. The Community Chest is taking pains to ensure the most bang for their buck, from having the inside work done during the winter, which is typically the construction industry’s down time, to partnering with Avista. “Every aspect, from our main contractor, through all of our sub-contractors [everybody is] donating something,” stated Urhausen. Currently, clients enter through the front door, and are immediately in the food bank portion. The remodel will add a vestibule where visitors will choose between entering the food bank or the thrift store portion. “It takes a little bit of the sting [out of] walking into the food bank; you can’t tell when you walk in off the sidewalk…” said Urhausen. The food bank will have an open shopping system, which will provide guidelines to clients and allow them to choose their own food. They will select items and check out at the counter, similar to a grocery store. High demand requires constant fundraising “We have 900 families active in our files. That means that they’ve come in at least once in three years. I purge them at three years and one day. Only 200 of those 900 families do we see in a given month. Most of them come in once or twice and they’re gone. Our client base is pretty much 75%-80% the same people; but they’re on disability, they’re senior citizens, retired, full-time, part-time working people, that don’t have enough income to make ends meet,” Urhausen explained. Urhausen stressed the upcoming raffle that will be taking place at the Marcus CiderFest. There are many prizes available; tickets are only $1.00 each or six for $5.00. Anybody interested in donating services or money for the remodel can contact a board member or stop by the Kettle Falls Community Chest booth at the Northeast Washington Fair. The Community Chest phone number is 509-738-2326; email is kffoodbank@centurytel.net.

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