Food drive close to last year’s record |

Food drive close to last year’s record

by Caryn Haller

Shannon LitzShannon Litz

Applause and cheers rang out from under the canopy at the Carson Valley Inn on Friday with each car that dropped off a food or cash donation.

At the end of the day, the drive collected 95,291 pounds of food and $51,833 in cash, or about 5,000 pounds and $9,500 short of last year.

“It’s going really well. We live in this Valley, and they are always so giving and generous,” said Jeanette Johnson, food closet treasurer. “This is our major fundraising drive for the year. Last year we were using this food through the end of summer.”

In Friday’s frigid weather, Dolores Clarkson of Minden kept warm sorting food into boxes to be loaded onto a truck.

“It’s a great thing the community does, and everything stays here,” she said. “It’s cold, but you’re so busy you don’t feel it.”

In the first four hours of the drive, 164 vehicles had donated more than 7,300 pounds of food and $3,000.

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“It’s crazy how close the community gets this time a year. Everybody’s willing to do anything,” volunteer Heather David said. “It’s awesome that people are willing to take time out of their day to help somebody else.”

As tradition, Santa Claus arrived via Care Flight to add some holiday cheer.

“Carson Valley donated more in pounds and money than Reno did last year,” Santa said. “Carson Valley is a family-type community, and it’s that way for everything. It’s on the nice list.”

Gardnerville resident Jerry Rasmussen dropped off the bags of food he bought Thursday just for the food drive.

“I do it every year for the food drive. You’ve got to help out some way, and I know where this is going,” he said. “Right now people need assistance. It’s all you can do to help out as much as you can.”

Hundreds of volunteers from Starbucks, Nevada Army National Guard, St. Gall, Douglas High School JROTC, Wells Fargo and other organizations moved quickly weighing, sorting and packing the continuous donations.

“It’s a way to pull the community together, and help some people at the same time,” volunteer Wes Piper said. “This is a great turnout, and when people pull together, we can get a lot of things done.”

Cheryl Nafie of Gardnerville smiled and waved at Channel 2 personality John Potter as she dropped off her donation.

“I think this is a good cause. I definitely wanted to contribute to it,” Nafie said. “It brings attention to the need at this time of year for food.”

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