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Local food banks bracing for a busy summer season

Peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese among top items needed.

With area schools out for the summer, students who enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria are now faced with tough food choices of their own.

As gasoline and food prices have escalated, many families are finding it more and more difficult to stretch their paychecks to cover their bills, much less worry about what their kids are going to eat during the summer. That burden has fallen on local food banks like the Bremerton Foodline and the Salvation Army, among others.

“For us, we’re seeing a definite increase because kids are out of school,” Bremerton Foodline Executive Director Monica Bernhard said.

Among the most needed items are items like boxed juices, cereal, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and hearty canned soups, which are “something somebody can cook and eat as a meal,” Bernhard said, adding that chili is one example of a hearty canned soup.

Donations can be dropped off at the Foodline, which is located across from Bremerton High School at 1600 12th St., between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. If those times don’t work, arrangements for pick-up can be made by calling the Foodline at (360) 479-6188.

Cash donations are another way to help those in need, Bernhard said.

“While we totally appreciate food donations, in terms of cash our program dollars can go a lot further than the general public’s,” she said.

Checks should be made payable to the Bremerton Foodline and mailed to Bremerton Foodline, P.O. Box 824, Bremerton, WA 98337.

Just down the way on Sixth Street, the Salvation Army’s food bank is experiencing a similar situation, Maj. Marcia Baker said.

“We’re going off the postal food drive right now, so we aren’t too low, but pretty soon we will be,” she said.

The items in greatest demand are non-perishable items like macaroni and cheese, “because kids like it” and other simple summertime foods, she said.

Cash donations can be sent to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 886, Bremerton, WA 98337. For information on how to donate food items, call (360) 373-5550.

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