Helping to feed the community for 23 years |

Helping to feed the community for 23 years

by Caryn Haller

For Maureen Bernal, the volunteers at the Carson Valley Community Food Closet make asking for help much easier.

The Gardnerville resident was at the food closet picking up her order Sept. 28 for her family of three.

“It helps out a lot. I’m a single mom, and they give good stuff for the kids,” she said. “All the volunteers are really nice, and it makes it better to know they’re in it to help and not judge.”

Managing Director Kathy Thompson said without the help of volunteers the food closet wouldn’t be open.

Close to 70 volunteers work each week picking up food from stores, sorting the food and filling orders.

“It wouldn’t happen without volunteers. There’s no way,” Thompson said.

The food closet provides supplemental food to about 500 families each month, and relies solely on community donations of money and food to meet the need.

“I consider everybody in the whole county a food closet volunteer, even if they bring me one can of food or one dollar,” Thompson said. “With the holidays coming if people are going to make donations they need to make them early.”

The organization is also in need of a 1,200-square-foot space to store excess food they receive from the holiday food drive at the Carson Valley Inn each year.

Truck driver Nick Collin began volunteering every Wednesday as a way to keep busy and help the community.

“I’m very fortunate,” he said. “I enjoy the fact you can help somebody that needs it. You never know when you could be the one on the other end of it.”

Gardnerville resident Sheila Dill began volunteering five years ago after she donated food during Christmas time and saw how many people were in the lobby and parking lot waiting to get their monthly food supply.

“I had no idea there were that many people hungry and coming in,” she said. “I love working here because by the time that cart is full they’ve got food to put in their fridge and their pantry.”

Mike Lawlor is one of the volunteers who was helping fill orders.

He loaded a shopping cart with canned goods, meat, eggs, bread, rice and cereal.

“When we have a lot, we give a lot,” he said.

Minden resident Heidi Ghan said she doesn’t mind doing whatever job needs to be done.

“It’s a good way to help people who are down and out. It could happen to anybody,” she said. “I come in here and ask, ‘what’s the dirtiest job nobody wants to do?’ I do a lot of egg sorting.”

To receive food closet vouchers contact Douglas County Social Services at 782-9825.

Food and monetary donations are accepted 12:30 to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Carson Valley Community Food Closet is located at 1255 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville.

For more information, call 782-3711.