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NV Food Banks Desperate for Summer Volunteers

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada received more than 100,000 pounds of donated food through the recent nationwide Stamp Out Hunger food drive, but all of that must be sorted by volunteers before it expires. (F Delventhal/Flickr)
The Food Bank of Northern Nevada received more than 100,000 pounds of donated food through the recent nationwide Stamp Out Hunger food drive, but all of that must be sorted by volunteers before it expires. (F Delventhal/Flickr)
June 7, 2018

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Food banks typically see a big spike in volunteers around Thanksgiving and Christmas. But during the summer, those same charitable organizations often find themselves short-staffed.

Some food banks in Nevada are now desperate for volunteers. When school is out for the summer, many families that rely on school lunch programs to help feed their kids turn instead to food pantries.

Jocelyn Lantrip is director of marketing and communications with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

"We see longer lines, and we're very busy in the summer with families trying to make up that difference in their budget,” Lantrip explained.

But, she said, as demand for food is high during the summer, volunteer turnout tends to be low, as people go out to enjoy warm weather and take vacations. Lantrip added that a successful Stamp Out Hunger food drive through the National Association of Letter Carriers in May brought thousands of pounds of donated food to food banks across the country. But now the organizations need workers to sort and distribute it.

If food doesn't get sorted before its expiration date, it has to be thrown away. So Lantrip said the sooner people come out to volunteer, the more hungry people they'll be able to feed.

"Volunteers coming to a food bank have a direct impact on families getting food on their table,” she said. “And that's what we really want people to know, is we need their help desperately, and when they come in, they are truly making that difference."

Volunteer orientation tends to be quick, Lantrip said, and just a few hours of work can provide a lot of relief.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - NV