A very important campaign to help the needy in Douglas County was launched on Monday. The goal is a new and much larger building to replace the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.

Inside, it's another day of hard work for 70-year-old Dee Hilderbrand...a volunteer there for 5 years. We watched him pack load after load of monthly boxes that families get each month, along with weekly packages of bread, milk and eggs. When you consider how many people depend on the little building on Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville with items crammed in every space available…a food closet it certainly is, and always has been. Managing Director Sarah Sanchez told us, "It started out as a food closet, a real closet. And I believe it moved into a garage."

Today, it’s about the size of two garages. They say they outgrew this 10 years ago. They can't wait to bring Douglas County what it has always deserved, going from 2,000 square feet to 10,000. As Sanchez told us, "Oh we're thrilled. This is a long time coming. Our board has been looking into options and thinking ahead."

The irony here is that we now have a fast rising economy. The numbers say few are unemployed now, yet plans are to expand the food closet 5-fold. To Sarah, it's not ironic at all. Most of the people served here are either seniors or are employed. As she put it, "We have a lot of working families who work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and so we're the answer to making sure there's enough food on the table."

The very healthy economy brings its own set of problems to people living on the edge. Douglas County is getting bigger with more folks moving in. Rents are going up by quite a bit, pushing those families that were barely getting by, to asking for help here. Sarah says today, "Mom and dad work multiple jobs, but together there's still not enough to make ends meet."

She sees the faces of those struggling with rising rent and bills every day. Meanwhile Dee's hard work here keeps him in shape at 70 years. He told me he's going to do it, "A long time, God willing." He knows the work is all for a good, honest group of people. As he put it, "The people are so great and fun and giving, unbelievable."

And to keep the small town spirit, it will still be called the Food Closet...no matter how big it gets. Sarah told us, "It’s good to remember where we came from. We were the Food Closet, we're still the Food Closet...we'll just be able to do better with more."

The Food Closet kicked off their fund drive for the building today. They own the property, but need $1.4 million for the building, and hope to break ground this fall. They're taking donations there in person at 1255 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville, and also online.

We have the link below if you'd like to give: