Area Food Banks Face Increased Need - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Area Food Banks Face Increased Need

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As we get closer to the holidays, our local food banks are preparing for an increase in need that is common during the winter months. What is unusual, they say, is the drop in donations they've been experiencing recently.

We took a tour of St. Vincent’s Food Pantry in downtown Reno and looked into the struggle local charities are facing to help those who are struggling.

Inside the pantry, run by Catholic Charities Of Northern Nevada, boxes are stacked high, and the shelves full of canned food, but…

“We go through this food fairly quickly and to be honest, it's been pretty disheartening to see how much donations have gone down,” says Matt Vaughan, Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada & The St. Vincent's Programs.

As a matter of fact donations have dropped by 60% over the past three years for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada. All the while, need is actually increasing.

"It's totally essential,” client Gordon Peterson tells us, “I'm out of food. I had to come today."

"We've seen it go up 20% to 25%,” says Vaughan, “So, about a year and a half ago this time we were serving about 12,000 people a month out of the pantry, now that number looks like 15 to 16,000 a month."

And they're not alone, the other large food provider in our region, Food Bank of Northern Nevada, says they have been experiencing the same drop in donations and increase in need.

Some says it's because donors believe there's less need because we're recovering from the recession and people are working again, but, says Vaughan, one thing is causing serious problems for many. "The rising cost of housing. Rent is definitely a contributing factor." Leaving people with less money to buy food.

Catholic Charities is seeing a lot more families now asking for help. The elderly and disabled continue to be a big part of their client base, some of whom would have little or nothing, without the pantry.

"Eat crackers. Crackers," Gordon says, laughing softly, in response to what he’d do without the food he gets from St. Vincent’s.

So right now, the food banks need our help. Of course, they are always grateful for financial support.

“We're hoping to get canned fruits and vegetables and instant potatoes and gravy so we can make sure those holiday bags are full for those families who really need it," says Vaughan.

And if donating food or money is not something you can do, the charities say your time is equally valuable. Volunteers are always needed.

Food Bank of Northern Nevada -

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada -

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