Food Closet hosts volunteer orientation and open house |

Food Closet hosts volunteer orientation and open house

by Amy Roby
The new building for the Carson Valley Community Food Closet is going up next to the old location on Waterloo Lane.
Kurt Hildebrand

Since 1989, the Carson Valley Community Food Closet has provided grocery assistance to qualifying Douglas County residents in need. Each month, hundreds of local program participants receive basic commodities to help supplement their food supply. The Food Closet is committed to providing people with balanced, healthy choices, and their mission aims “To achieve food security in Douglas County.”

The organization’s new facility, which is under construction on Waterloo Lane, is evidence of the necessity and importance of the service and support that the food closet provides. Once completed, the new building will span 10,000 square feet of storage and working space, nearly five times the size of the food closet’s current site.

A successful “Bring More to the Table” campaign raised $1.4 million to fund the building’s construction. Financial support came from individuals, businesses, and foundations including the Fairweather Foundation and the William N. Pennington Foundation. Donations are still being accepted to help fund the purchase of interior equipment and provisions for the new structure.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in July, and the project is slated for completion in early spring.

Excitement about the new facility is palpable. Food Closet Manager Denise Banes said, “This week, the builders are working on finishing insulation and the drywall is going in. Mostly what’s left is the interior finish.”

Preparations are underway to facilitate the transition into the larger space.

“We’re already making plans for the move and the logistics of that,” said Banes. “We’re working to get it all in place with as little disruption (to daily functions) as possible. We are feeling very confident.”

As a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, the closet operates through the assistance of grants and the generosity of monetary and food donations from individuals, churches, businesses, and service groups in our community. Another way to contribute toward its success is to volunteer.

Volunteers assist operations in a number of ways. These include: sorting and stocking food items, filling food vouchers, picking up food donations from local stores, greeting and admitting clients, and assisting with special events, such as the “Share Your Holiday” food drive held each December.

The Food Closet hosts an orientation to provide information to new and interested volunteers on the fourth Tuesday of every month (with the exception of December).

This month’s orientation takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 10:30-11 a.m. No reservations are needed and those high school age and above are invited to attend.

On Feb. 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Food Closet welcomes the public to its annual “We Love Our Community” open house. Attendees will learn about plans for the new facility and see firsthand the positive impact of the closet’s efforts. Refreshments will be served.

“The open house is held each February to show our love to our community. We invite donors to come in and thank them for their generosity. It’s a tangible way for them to see what their money has provided,” Banes said.

The January volunteer orientation and February open house will be held at the Food Closet’s current location, 1255 Waterloo Lane, Suite B, in Gardnerville.

For information about the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, make a donation, or obtain a volunteer application, log on to Questions regarding the volunteer orientation may be directed to Banes at 775-782-3711 or via email at