For St. Vincent’s Food pantry manager Scott Cooksley, helping collect food donations is more than just the typical nine to five job, or something he just emphasizes during the holidays; it’s a never-ending battle.
“There’s not enough advocacy out there for local pantries like us,” said Cooksley.
While St. Vincent’s donations have more than doubled, so have the number of families they are striving to provide for. However, this is not just an issue for St. Vincent’s food pantry, this is a concern for all food pantries of northern Nevada.
While I’m not sure how many donated, I know it has grown a lot.” Said northern Nevada food bank worker Jocelyn Lantrip.
When discussing how many people they gave food to this year versus years past, the difference was over double. “ During the fiscal year 07-08, we served just over 80,000 people, and the fiscal year that ended June 30, it was about 200,000” said Lantrip.
While these numbers are nothing to sneeze at, food bank workers claim there is still more than can and should be done to take a bigger dent out of the population going hungry for the holidays. The dent of people going hungry in Washoe county is getting greater as the numbers of citizens going hungry is vastly increasing.
“28% of children are food instable,” said Cooksley, “Meaning that 28% of kinds will go home this weekend and be hungry because their only resources for food is at school.”
“There are resources that are being under-utilized…we’re a local pantry so we sometimes get looked over.” said Cooksley.
When asked about how outside resources could help raise awareness to this need, Cooksley was frustrated at the lack of media support, even during the holidays when they get more publicity than normal.
“Food hunger is not a sexy subject for media to put out…they don’t care, I can honestly say that.” Said Cooksley,
While more publicity might benefit these types of organizations, one need is still clear. Money donations. When talking to Reno Assistance League President Sue Martin it became evident that how much food handed out is linked not only directly to food donations, but to money donations as well.
“We have X amount of dollars in our budget, so we do the best we can with that amount…but we’re still managing to feed more people with a lower budget.” Said Martin.
Part of the lack of support may come from people feeling that if they only have $5 to give that it wouldn’t be enough to make a significant impact. According to Lantrip, this simply isn’t true.
“Each dollar that is donated helps us provide 4 meals to those who need them so that is one of the most efficient ways to donate.” Said Lantrip.
The call to action that all food donation centers are asking of the public is to give what you can, and to know that literally every dollar counts.
“Don’t think you’re not doing enough,” said Cooksley,” Someone comes in, gives me a can of beans…it all adds up, nothing goes to waste.”
If you wish to donate any food items to St. Vincent’s, their hours of operation are:
Year Round: Monday-Saturday 8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
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*Original Publishing Date: December 2011