Share your Christmas food drive is today |

Share your Christmas food drive is today

by Caryn Haller
Fourteen-year-olds Rebecca Ostrander and Ali Sorensen unload boxes of food donations at the Carson Valley Inn last year. The food drive is 6 a.m.-6 p.m. today.
Shannon Litz file photo |

Since its first year at Carson Valley Inn, Bill Henderson has been impressed by the generosity of Valley residents.

The 21st annual “Share Your Christmas” food drive is 6 a.m.-6 p.m. today in the casino’s north parking lot.

“We do get far more people stopping by now than we did earlier on, but since the very beginning everybody was cheering and wanting to help and that hasn’t changed,” the director of sales said. “It’s jovial, it’s positive and it’s heartwarming. I enjoy watching the faces of all the people that come in with their smiles and eagerness to help and donate. There’s a lot of times when the cars back up onto the highway.”

The casino hosts the food drive to benefit the Carson Valley Community Food Closet. Although Channel 2 News sponsors the food drive, Carson Valley usually brings in more food than the sites in Carson City and Reno. Last year, the drive collected 95,291 pounds of food and $51,833 in cash.

“That’s got to do with a number of things,” Henderson said. “No. 1, there’s a lot of people who want to help. No. 2, we’re highly visible to a large percentage of the community. I don’t know what it is, people just want to be a part of it. You hear from so many people who love to donate to this.”

It takes hundreds of volunteers to receive, sort and deliver the thousands of pounds of donated food.

“We always have more volunteers than we need, but we welcome them all, and they all come because they want to participate, rain or shine, no matter what the temperature,” Henderson said. “These people are volunteers to help the food closet and Carson Valley. I’m just pleased to be a part of it. It’s all for the good of the community.”

In 2012, the food closet served 380,000 people.

“This is our largest fundraiser. We don’t get money from any government,” said food closet board member Mike Wiley. “This fundraiser means everything to us.”

Donations from the food drive usually keeps food on the shelves through June.

“Douglas County is a very giving community,” Wiley said. “This isn’t the wealthiest community in the world, but people just give and give and give. It’s overwhelming to me. I enjoy doing it.”

The Bloodmobile will also be on site taking blood donations from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Santa will be landing in the CareFlight helicopter at 10 a.m.

Channel 2 News will have Arianna Bennett, Chris Ciarlo and Adam Varahachaikol to chronicle the festivities. Also on hand will be Back Country Horsemen, the steel drum band from Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, Douglas High School jazz band, the bell choir from Carson Valley United Methodist Church, “Boomer” from Douglas Disposal, a fire engine from the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts and others.

For more information call the food closet at 782-3711. Donations may be mailed to the food closet at 1255 Waterloo Lane Unit B, Gardnerville, 89410.