What does it mean to “Fill the Gap?” And what role does the Bremerton Foodline play in the Filling the Gap?
The Bremerton Foodline is just one part of the system that plays a role in decreasing food insecurity and hunger in our community. To truly end hunger, all aspects of our community must come together in a coordinated effort. We need to build upon our community’s successes and be open to trying new things. In 2024, Bremerton Foodline plans to dedicate staff time and energy to assessing the gaps, and here’s what that will look like.
First, we need to gather data. In 2023, Bremerton Foodline served 11,086 unique individuals from all of Kitsap County; about 5,500 were Bremerton residents. We are curious about the gap in need versus the number of residents served. Kitsap County Health Department 2020 Local Population and Demographic Report states that of the 48,086 City of Bremerton residents, 31% earned 200% below the federal poverty level. That’s close to 15,000 residents. That’s a pretty big gap right here in Bremerton Foodline’s backyard. The icing on the cake is that more research and understanding must be done.
The second question we will dig into is: Who are all the groups, organizations, individuals, and businesses joining in on the effort to end hunger in our community? There are so many! We know a compassionate and generous community surrounds us. Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul, Backpack Brigade, Meals on Wheels, and many more that we look forward to learning more about.
Our third question is: How do all these fantastic partners work together? How do we collaborate? Who needs to be included so that we can assess the hidden needs? There is pain, suffering, and hunger happening behind closed doors. How do our caring strategic partners find each one of these households so that we can fill the hunger gaps that are unseen by food banks? We envision working closely with our fire department as an intricate resource. They often find themselves going into homes for non-emergency calls and seeing lights shut off, no heat, and empty cupboards. We want to be able to provide our first responders with care kits that will allow them to provide some basic needs on the spot.
It’s difficult to ask for help, and everyone who works in the food security world knows it! We want to alleviate hunger in thoughtful, creative, and loving ways.
If you are connected with a group of people providing food in any way to people in need, please let me know! We could partner and support each other. If you have a program idea about how to fill our hunger gaps, please reach out! Bremerton Foodline has a deep passion for helping your vision remain a success, and we know we are only one part of the solution, so please join us to help us grow on our strengths and create solutions to fill the hunger gaps.