More than 200 Food Donation Barrels Set Up in Reno/Sparks
We started our food barrel donation tour at the Wilbur D. May Museum. They're offering free admission with two cans of food through Saturday, December 1st. Food donations at a museum fits there… if you know anything about Wilbur D. May. Assistant Curator Samantha Szesciorka told us that "Wilbur was a very generous person in the Reno community, very philanthropic, and it just seems natural that we would continue with that."
The May Department Store heir moved to Reno in 1936, bringing his millions, his amazing collection of artifacts, and his big heart to town. It seems to us, Wilbur would love the idea of food barrels at the museum's entrance. Szesciorka told us, "Any way we can contribute and help people in our own community is wonderful."
It was back in the 80's when the Northern Nevada Food Bank picked up on an idea that was working in other cities: send out as many of the barrels as possible, get them filled up and pick up the bounty. The barrels in Reno and Sparks bring in tens of thousands of pounds each holiday season.
Our next stop: Sparks. What prompted dentist Jason Champagne to put barrels in his office, for the fifth year? He told us, "I see a lot of people hurting each day and I'd like to reach out and give them a little help when I can."
For Champagne, the barrels bring lessons of their own, like how generous folks can be. "We had a gentleman pull up, and you could tell he was having tough times himself. He was able to put together enough to donate a little himself."
From a dentist in Sparks, we went out to Rhapsody, A Salon in Reno. What opened owner Mary Ann Levie's eyes was a customer who introduced her to some desperate families in Sun Valley. She told us, "They all had lost their jobs. There were children that just didn't have clothing, and there were people out there that were just so hungry."
Mary Ann put her barrel right where no one can miss it, in front of the reception desk. Above the barrels stands a gift basket worth $350. On December 27th, she's holding a drawing for the prize to go to a random donor…each of them will get a drawing ticket.
All 3 told us that filling their barrels is their goal. They don't want families going without. As Mary Ann told us, "It is the season, and it's time to be generous."