New and Improved Front Market System, Thanks to Everyone!


Just wanted to share this update on the new and improved front market system.  Staff, volunteers and clients agree this new way of food bank shopping is easier for our clients, less stressful and a better way of making sure our food stretch as far as it can.  Thanks to the innovative spirits and creativity of our volunteers, the market looks like a wonderful neighborhood grocery, complete with Central Market buggies and daily specials.  And, most inspiring to see, our clients shop with dignity, able to choose for items that they want while self-monitoring based on a budget.

It was a miraculous transformation to watch – each week, we got a little closer to the final product.  First, a doorway was built. Then a checkout station was constructed, a miracle of its own when you think about how little room we had to work with.  Then a new flow started to happen, immediately a relief to shoppers. Finally, a work party took place that added the final touches, including a refrigerator layout that included specials written on the doors, a “specials” neon board and price tags for all our items.  A generous sprinkling of “free” selections keeps food items moving through quickly and helps budgets stretch further.

When opening day came, a crowd of helpful volunteers gathered, making sure everything was neat, clean and well-marked then held their breath when the door opened at 10 am.  After all, even the best laid plans don’t account for every possibility, and we just didn’t know how it would all come together.  What came afterward will be remembered for a long time – an easy, happy day that passed without a hitch.  The relief amongst volunteers and clients alike was noticeable, a sign that this system might just work!

A change of this magnitude was only possible because of the amazing efforts of many, many
contributors.   There is no way we can thank everyone, because so many were involved, but we’ll give it
a shot anyway:

The Project Team Extraordinaire who, for months, met every week and sometimes in between to carve out this new process, study its implications and then implement it.  These folks gave this project their best and it shows in the beautiful and successful results:

 Staff: Gavin Watt, Lucy Baker and Mike Willmes
 Volunteers: Anne Alexander, Karen Calhoun, Sandy Fullerton, Carol Geissler, Katherine
Porter, Sharon Schmid, Helen Supancheck and Kee Webb

Facilities, including construction and computers:
 John Lewis built and installed our new shelving and the new checkout station.
 The Poulsbo Rotary donated the funds needed to buy our new 3-door cooler, set to be delivered
on 7/23.
 Greg Lasater, son of Board President Walt, donated his time in creating the doorway that leads
to the checkout station.
 Central Market and Albertsons donated the buggies our clients love to use.
 David Graves worked nights and weekends to get our computers set up and ready to be used as
checkout systems.
 Ken Craig, the programmer who developed our Client Card System, specially modified the
program to accommodate our Fish Bucks.
 Eric Watland of Advanced Electrical Design donated installation of electrical service for our new
refrigerator configurations.

Most especially, we want to thank each and every one of you who graciously adapted to the changes.  It takes longer and requires more effort to implement a new way, and you all just rolled up your sleeves and went to work with a great attitude.