Food Bank of Northern Nevada rescues food, brings hope | nnbusinessview.com

Food Bank of Northern Nevada rescues food, brings hope

Jocelyn Lantrip
Special to the NNBV

SPARKS, Nev. — The Food Bank of Northern Nevada works throughout the year to help families receive the help they need with their food budget, while offering avenues for the food industry to minimize waste and extend the life of millions of pounds of food each year.

The system is truly a win-win for all sides. So much food is wasted, and conversely, there are so many families who are struggling. The Food Bank is proud to be the catalyst to close that loop as much as possible.

The local economy has seen some promising growth over the last couple of years and it is exciting to see new businesses, a plentiful job market and so many new opportunities throughout the area.

When it comes to families facing hunger on a regular basis, the story is simply a different view of the same community. Hunger is often a hidden issue because people do not want to share that part of their lives.

When families are reaching out for help, the reasons are often the same. The household budget doesn't keep up with their income. Rising rents and the lack of affordable housing is a by-product of the growth in the area, but in many cases, wages are not keeping up.

Families share with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada every day how their budgets are simply not adding up, and food is the variable expense that is often left out of the equation.

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When the Reno Housing Authority told us that the average one bedroom apartment rent had increased 27 percent in the last two years, it was a story that had been shared by families with the Food Bank staff many times.

Housing costs are a very common issue cited from those in the community who are facing hunger. Families report that receiving assistance with their food budget is one of the things that makes it possible to stay current with their rent and other bills.

The Food Bank is still helping 92,000 people each month. Each of these people has their own struggle, but the themes are common and the end result is often the same.

Parents worry because they are very aware that a healthy diet is vital for their children. Hungry kids certainly can't learn or come close to living up to their full potential. Parents often find a way to make it work for their kids, but often skip meals themselves to close the budget gap.

This was the case with Carol, a mom who was recently visiting the Food Bank Mobile Harvest program to receive fresh fruits and vegetables for her family. She reported that she and her husband commonly were eating one meal a day or drinking a lot of water to feel full so the food would last for the children. This is a story that plays out many times a day, right here in Northern Nevada.

The Food Bank sends trucks out every weekday to pick up food from grocery stores that is nearing the expiration date so that staff and volunteers can quickly turn it around for distribution.

The food is then provided to the 145 partner agencies throughout the 90,000 square mile service area and the Mobile Harvest program. This grocery program is called Fresh Rescue, and more than 4.9 million pounds of food were saved through this program last year.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada is the community's food bank. Families facing hunger is an issue that cannot be tackled by one organization or group. Everyone plays a part, and that is why families like Carol's are sleeping better and facing tomorrow with more hope than today.

Jocelyn Lantrip is Director of Marketing & Communications for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. To find out more or to get involved, visit fbnn.org or call 775-331-FOOD.