Hunger Action Day Reminds Nevadans of Year-Round Need - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Hunger Action Day Reminds Nevadans of Year-Round Need

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September is Hunger Action Month, when a network of 200 American food banks work together to raise awareness about the need of food and money donations, and volunteers. Thursday is also Action Hunger Day for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada

"It's our opportunity to tell the community the extent of hunger in our community and what they can do to help, making sure that kids don't go to bed hungry," Al Brislain, President and CEO of Food Bank of Northern Nevada said.

FBNN serves more than 95,000 people each month. Half of them are children or seniors. That is why the organization is reminding people that hunger is a year-round problem, and it is asking northern Nevadans to get involved on a deeper level.

"Maybe you donate to us already but you've never volunteered. This is a good month to get out there and sort some food with us, do something you haven't done before," Jocelyn Lantrip, Director of Marketing of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada said.

Money donations are always welcome, since $1 will pay for three meals. Last fiscal year, FBNN provided 13.3 million meals, thanks to donations made by people in our region.

"People care about their neighbors here," Brislain said. "It's a small enough community that people care. It's a big enough community that we have the resources to do something about it."

The economy is on the upswing, with new businesses moving into the area, providing tens of thousands of jobs.  Nevada's unemployment rate is 4.8%, and Washoe County has a 4.2% unemployment rate.  Despite more people going back to work, the demand for FBNN's services is not dropping but it is more stable.

"What we're seeing is our clients may be working but they're working less hours than they used to," Lantrip said. "They're not making the money that they need to to sustain their family."

The cost of living is rising faster than wages. Reno's average rent is 14% higher than it was a year ago, putting more strain on families.

"People that are renting a house are seeing their rents increase, and for a lot of the people that are entry-level or low-wage jobs, that's really a killer for them," Brislain said.

That is why the food bank is still so vital, several years after the Great Recession. 

"When they're looking at making the decision between food and paying their rent, we're the only place they can go to get food," Brislain said. "So, that makes that decision so much easier."

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