Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada | Partner Agency Spotlight

It’s lunchtime in downtown Reno, and a line has spilled out the doors of the St. Vincent’s Dining Room. Inside, the sounds of laughter and conversation carry across the large dining room as clients make their way through the service line and then sit down to enjoy their meal. On today’s menu: meatballs with jalapeños and cheese topped with a chili sauce, soup, and a fresh green salad, among other items. All made from scratch by Dining Room Director, Ray Trevino, and a group of dedicated volunteers. Before service is over, as many as 550 diners will have received a free, hot lunch. For many, it will be the only prepared meal they’ll have all day.

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Across the street, the St. Vincent’s Food Pantry is bustling with activity as staff and volunteers busily work to make their way through the line of clients in need of groceries for their families. Each month, the St. Vincent’s Food Pantry at Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada provides emergency groceries to more than 12,000 neighbors in need.

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Volunteers stack shelves with pre-packed boxes of pasta, beans, canned fruits and vegetables, and other non-perishable food items. Produce and other fresh items will be added to these boxes as they are distributed to clients. Waiting in line, Kathy and John, clients of the Food Pantry, chat with me and tell me that they especially appreciate knowing that a trip to the pantry means they’ll have access to healthier foods that can be difficult for them to afford to purchase.

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Like the staff of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, our partners at Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada & the St. Vincent’s Programs are passionate about ensuring that clients have access to healthful, fresh foods. This desire was the foundation for an exciting new component to the partnership between our organizations over the last year. With special funding provided by the Redfield Foundation, we’ve been able to work together to tackle a primary obstacle to providing more fresh food through the food programs at Catholic Charities – space. A trailer dedicated to food distribution through this partnership was purchased, and on it was loaded fresh fruits & vegetables, meat, dairy, and other perishable items.

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Every week, a new load of goodies gets loaded onto the trailer at the Food Bank before being delivered to the parking lot at Catholic Charities. There, the trailer’s refrigeration allows the food to continue to be stored in the trailer, unloaded as it’s needed for distribution to community members in need through the St Vincent’s Dining Room and the St. Vincent’s Food Pantry, as well as the Meals on Wheels program operated by Catholic Charities. Together, our organizations have been able to significantly increase the amount of fresh food provided to community members in need. So far in 2015, more than 350,000lbs of food have made the trip from the warehouse at the Food Bank to the parking lot at Catholic Charities and onto the plates of thousands of neighbors who are hungry.

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Blog Bio Picture - AramelleAramelle Wheeler is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.  Aramelle joined the Food Bank in 2012 and is proud to be part of the fight against hunger in our community.  Aramelle grew up in a family that often struggled with not having enough food and considers it an honor to be able to help other families like hers.  She loves social media and really loves it when Food Bank friends share their hunger fighting fun with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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