Doye Pierskalla wasn’t waiting in line for a big-screen television or the newest game station. He was braving the cold to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family.
The Carson Valley Community Food Closet distributed Thanksgiving dinners to 454 families last week.
“I’ve been in Alaska. Having a Thanksgiving meal means everything, that I can have the family around — even my ex-wife,” the Gardnerville resident said Thursday. “There’s about 11 of us. It’s been awhile, so I’m looking forward to seeing them.”
Having taken over as managing director in July, Sarah Sanchez was amazed by the amount of donations the food closet was receiving.
“I’m shocked every day by the amount of giving Douglas County does,” she said. “The donations pour in.”
Sanchez, 31, worked for the last 10-plus years at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center before joining the food closet.
“I’m enjoying meeting everybody from the donors to the clients, and being the pass-through to get the food out,” Sanchez said. “I haven’t felt like I’ve contributed to the community as much as I do here. I feel like I’m playing an integral role in contributing to their well-being in regards to food.”
Although the Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives supply the majority of the food closet’s supply, Sanchez said the need is year-round.
“Come summertime and early fall, the supply starts to wane again. Before the holiday giving kicked in, I was buying canned tuna and fruits and vegetables regularly,” she said. “Our need is always the staples like dried beans, rice, canned vegetables and fruit. Everything else is kind of extra for the clients.”
Donations are accepted 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
“We can accept fresh items and produce, but we can’t accept open or repackaged items,” Sanchez explained.
The food closet is also in need of volunteers.
“It takes five to 10 people every day we’re open just to distribute food,” Sanchez said. “Without the volunteers, it wouldn’t work.”
New to the Valley in March, Dawn and John Vanek helped distribute food this year as volunteers with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse.
“I love this organization,” Dawn said. “It makes me feel good to do something positive for the community.”
The Carson Valley Community Food Closet is located at 1255 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville. The phone number is 782-3711.