Community support seen at KTVN Share Your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive |

Community support seen at KTVN Share Your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive

by Rachel Spacek
The Backcountry Horsemen's Lin O'Kelley holds 'Chili Bean Burrito' while Becky Dranen unloads a bag of donated food Friday afternoon at the Carson Valley Inn.
Brad Coman |

Carson Valley residents shared their Christmas spirit and more than 262,000 pounds of food and $57,673 during the 25th annual Share Your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden on Friday. The food drive benefits the Carson Valley Community Food Closet. The food collected is expected to last until next year.

“We always receive the most donations, compared to Reno and Carson City,” said Sarah Sanchez, managing director of the food closet. “Everyone here just really cares. We have a small town mentality and a caring for your neighbor mentality.”

Kate Savage, associate director of the food closet said the excitement was up from last year’s event. Around 11 a.m. Friday Savage said the flow of cars had been steady and they had a large turnout of volunteers.

One of those volunteers was Ben Echavarria, a second-year volunteer.

“I have seen lots of donations, lots of positive people,” Echavarria said. “We are a community of volunteers, everyone enjoys coming out to help each other.”

Manny Ramirez, another volunteer, moved to Coleville last month and said he was thrilled to see community support.

“I love seeing all of the people coming through to donate and all of the people volunteering,” Ramirez said. “It is not even lunch time and we have so much food and almost six hours to go.”

Don McRoberts, chairman of the board of directors of the food closet, who was keeping track of the total donations, said they were seeing a similar rate to last year. They had collected around 10,000 pounds of food and $9,600 in cash donations.

“Every year around 4 p.m. we get a big surprise from Raleys,” McRoberts said. “It blows your mind, they bring a truck full of food. There are lots of tears and lots of emotion comes up in people when they see the truck. This is such a great event.”

McRoberts said he was appreciative of the community and volunteers who he said, “come out of the woodwork.”

Santa arrived in a Care Flight helicopter, leaving the reindeer jealous, he said.

“Minden is such a beautiful town and I love seeing the outpouring of support and donations of this event,” Santa said.

The event was one of three food drives sponsored by KTVN Channel 2. The other food drives were at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City and in Reno.

In Minden, the Nevada National Guard and the Nevada Department of Corrections were among the community groups helping throughout the day. United Blood Services hosted a blood drive at CVI during the food drive in their Bloodmobile. The event had a DJ who went around interviewing volunteers and getting the crowd excited. A number of preschools attended the event to donate cans and see Santa.

“We are so appreciative and so fortunate for the support from a small town,” said Savage.