The Nevada Food Bank launches a summer meal program for children.

Despite supply chain problems and empty shelves, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada has launched its Kids Cafe Summer Program aimed at ensuring that no child goes hungry.

The daily service of the food service, in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Nevada Department of Agriculture, aims to provide free food packs to 1,000 children at 34 locations in Reno and Sparks. Distribution areas include Frenley and Shores.

The program, which began on June 13, is designed to provide nutritious food for children ages 2 to 18 until they return to school. Each meal is a cool lunch pack that meets the USDA’s nutritional requirements, including fruits, vegetables, milk and protein.

The Kids Cafe program has been running for almost 20 years. In the early years, USDA required on-site meals. But the food bank was given a waiver with the Nevada Department of Agriculture that allows children to take their food with them.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada hopes to ensure that children who rely on school meals are not deprived of food during the summer holidays, according to Marketing and Communications Coordinator Armley Wheeler.

“As prices rise, it becomes more difficult for families to include more food per child in their grocery budgets than they were already providing during the school year,” Wheeler said.

He said that without access to such food services, parents often come up with solutions such as “skipping meals” to ensure that their children are able to get what they need.

Wheeler, who has worked with the Food Bank for nearly a decade, acknowledges that the agency often faces challenges in dealing with the growing need for food aid from families.

Wheeler shared that “we feel the need to go to the source and buy more products that we sometimes need historically.”

In addition to food shortages and supply shortages, the food bank has had to contend with rising gas prices, which has led to rising delivery costs. But Wheeler said he was trying to keep those factors from becoming a hindrance to community service.

“We have an excellent team that works closely with manufacturers, growers, and retail distribution centers and builds relationships with them to help the food bank receive donations,” Wheeler said.

He said it allows them to buy items at lower prices and make sure they are bringing the food the community needs.

“We need to make sure that our neighbors who need food aid are not burdened with worries about what happens when there is not enough food.”

Wheeler said, “Therefore, we work really hard to make sure that we are still meeting (people’s) needs, regardless of what obstacles we have to overcome.” . “

Working for nearly four decades, the Food Bank serves 115,000 families each month. The non-profit organization Nationwide Feeding America is a member of the initiative, which partners with 150 local organizations to address the food crisis in the region. It covers an area of ​​90,000 square miles, including 13 counties in Northern Nevada and parts of several counties in Northern California just east of Sierras.

The organization offers a variety of other programs that help provide food for families, veterans and senior members. The office and warehouse operates primarily from Monday to Friday but has partnered with food agencies and pantries to distribute food aid on Saturday nights and weekends.

“We are grateful to the volunteers and the people of the community who gather around our neighbors to ensure that they have access to the healthy nutritious food they need at all times, regardless. Whatever their situation, “Wheeler shared.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada is not the only effort to provide food aid in the Reno area.

Claire Holden, a farmer and assistant manager of the Desert Farming Initiative (DFI) at the University of Nevada, Reno, runs a 24/7 community refrigeration and pantry program known as Biggest Little Free Pantry, which is modeled on “Your Take the need, “Leave what you can” for more than a year now.

The largest Little Free Pantry has three locations around Reno and Sparks, the latest location being renovated by Holden at 1135 Wilkinson Avenue in Reno.

Reno’s recently renovated community pantry and refrigerator at 1135 Wilkinson Avenue offers free spoiled and non-perishable food. (Photo courtesy of Claire Holden)

“I saw the need for better access to food in the community,” said Holden, who decided to use the grant fund to rebuild some of these existing pantries over the summer.

Holden feels that some food aid organizations have their own rules and regulations that apply when people are allowed to eat. He also acknowledges that he has a model that allows him access at any time without fear or favor. “It allows for total equity across the board.” He added.

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