Community

Helpline closes thift shop, moves into nursery

Community Transition Program (CTP) students Kayla Spieth (left) and Seth Lan-ders-Printy (right) plant tomatillos, cayenne peppers, basil and two types of tomatoes (Early Girl and Sweet 100) with CTP Educator Laura Lane (middle). - Carole Bacon/Staff Photo
Community Transition Program (CTP) students Kayla Spieth (left) and Seth Lan-ders-Printy (right) plant tomatillos, cayenne peppers, basil and two types of tomatoes (Early Girl and Sweet 100) with CTP Educator Laura Lane (middle).
— image credit: Carole Bacon/Staff Photo

Vintage to Vogue thrift store on Bay Street closed its doors on May 21 for the last time.

The thrift store, run by South Kitsap Helpline (SKHL), wasn’t making a whole lot of profit, so to supplement the food bank, officials decided to change directions and find a more permanent home.

Meanwhile, with the help of a $300,000 grant used for the down payment, SKHL has moved into a new home that includes two parcels of land, a two-story house, a store, three greenhouses, a lathe house and outdoor plant beds.

Once belonging to the Port Orchard Nursery, the location offered a chance for SKHL to grow its own fresh produce for the food bank and the local free meal programs.

With increased demand for the food bank services, the realization came that they needed to use resources in a more sustainable way to ensure they had enough healthy food year-round for those in need.

Flowers, plants, produce and vegetable starter plants are available for purchase at the nursery and are also being sold at the Port Orchard Farmers Market.

In addition to the nursery and new food bank facilities, SKHL is aiming to build a facility to hold a commercial kitchen and onsite classrooms to hold classes and workshops.

The produce and fresh herbs that are grown will also be sold at a local co-op and to local restaurants.

According to SKHL, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Unfortunately, low-income families often find it difficult to access these foods.

By offering year-round fresh produce and free food classes in food growing and preparation, SKHL can address important needs currently unmet in the community.

The full circle concept will also provide the organization with a more stable income to better support their programs.

For more information on purchasing produce, plants or herbs, or to donate food, call (360) 876-4089 or visit the nursery located at 1012 Mitchell Avenue.

All proceeds benefit the South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank.

Hours of operation for the nursery are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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