by Sharlene Irete
The shelves at the Carson Valley Community Food Closet must not be as happy as usual because they aren't as full as usual. The 12-by-12 foot walk-in freezer is nearly empty and shelves in the walk-in refrigerator are bare.
"We usually can't walk around in there," said food closet director Eileen Boettiger. "There were 39 percent more clients at the food closet in September and the numbers are going up. The economy is horrible."
The food closet buys from the Northern Nevada Food Bank and deliveries are made once every other week. They receive food donations from Scolari's, Raley's and Smith's grocery stores.
"Raley's lets us buy items through the Food for Families program," said Boettiger. "We get donations from Smith's and Scolari's customers. We also get stuff from gracious donors like Costco."
The food closet also depends on donations from members of the community to help keep the shelves full year round, not just during the holidays.
"Right now, the only thing we have a lot of is spaghetti noodles, but we need everything else: fruit, jam, peanut butter, quart and gallon Ziplock bags, Rice-a-Roni, Pasta Roni, macaroni and cheese, paper products " anything you eat and use at home " that's what we need here."
Boettiger said people who want to be food closet clients should apply with Douglas County Social Services at 782-9825. Applications will be checked for Douglas County residency. She said past recipients are known to be some of the most dependable donors.
"One guy who used to be a client fills up his pickup with food and drops it off with us every once in a while," she said. "If they're young and are able to help, they like to pay back. People are really grateful.
"But some of our newer clients are those who never needed help before and didn't want to ask. But if you have kids, you need food," she said. "These are people who have been our normal donors who say, 'I can't believe this is happening to me.'"
The Carson Valley Community Food Closet is at 1255 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, and is open 1-4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday. Information, 782-3711.
How to donate
n Give canned goods and nonperishables, cash donations or checks to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, 1255 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville. The food closet is open 1-4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday. Information, 782-3711.
n Take advantage of grocery store programs that allow customers to donate money, holiday bags of food, turkeys and hams to the food closet.
n Pitch in nonperishable food items, soap, laundry, paper products, etc., at food closet barrels in the community. Food collection barrels are at Carson Valley grocery stores and at The Record-Courier office, 1503 Highway 395, Gardnerville. n Request a collection barrel for your place of business by calling 782-3711.
n Volunteer your time. The food closet is in need of volunteers to pick up and make deliveries, to sort, weigh and divide bulk products.
n Participate. Organize a food drive at your school, church or organization.
n Be ready with donations when those organizations make their door-to-door requests.
How to apply for assistance
Contact Douglas County Community Services, 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1133 Spruce St., Gardnerville, 782-9825. More information and general assistance applications at www.douglascountyNV.gov
Items needed at food closet include
n Nonperishable food: boxed, canned
n Canned food with pop-tops
n Rice, pasta, egg noodles
n Soup, chili, peanut butter, jam
n Mixed vegetables, peas, carrots
n Soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors
n Laundry and dish soap
n Paper products: paper towels, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products
n Diapers, baby food, baby wipes
n Pet food
n Quart and gallon zip-style bags