Paying it forward |

Paying it forward

Other Voices
Pauli Halstead

There are many people in Nevada City and Grass Valley who go without food on a daily basis. Not all of them are homeless, but many are. Perhaps some of us believe that Nevada County or local organizations have the meal programs figured out and everyone is being fed.

This is not the case, however.

While some local agencies provide groceries, there are very few opportunities to obtain a prepared hot meal. Many people do not have facilities to cook. As a community we need to fill in the gaps so local folks, including families with children, can get a hot meal every day. More volunteers are needed and also donations of money. The goal is to provide a hot meal every day of the week.

Currently there are only two days a week where people can have a hot meal in Nevada City. This leaves five days where many go without a cooked meal. Sierra Roots provides a hearty lunch at Trinity Church on Thursdays. Most of the food comes from the Nevada County Food Bank and much of it is organic and also gluten-free. The lunch day is also an opportunity to pass out additional food supplies for the week plus donations of clothing, shoes, backpacks and toiletries.

As a community we need to fill in the gaps so local folks, including families with children, can get a hot meal every day.

Divine Spark has been providing cooked food, and also grocery items, on Sundays, but is suspending the program temporarily. They will still be providing food vouchers for those who need them. Volunteers provide an evening meal at Trinity Church on Tuesdays. Hospitality House does not serve a lunch during the day for their residents as they have to be out of the building from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Some of these folks walk to Nevada City for the Thursday lunch.

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Stormy May, a local woman with a great idea, has created a pilot program, called Gratitude Bowls. Anyone can donate an extra $6 while dining at the following restaurants so a hungry person can have a meal. Recipients of the Gratitude Bowls project only need to show their card (evidence of being a local resident) to be served a meal. Establishments who honor Gratitude Bowls include:

— The Ridge Cafe, 29318 Hwy. 49 North San Juan. Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

— Matteo's Public, 300 Commercial St. Nevada City. Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (not available on parade days and summer nights).

— Java John's, 306 Broad St. Nevada City, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.

— Crazy Horse Saloon and Grill – 230 Commercial St. Nevada City. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to midnight; Sundays, 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

In addition to serving meals, Sierra Roots uses the lunch opportunity to interface with our locals to determine what can be done to help them move towards a more stable and healthy lifestyle. We help them sign up for monetary aid, social and medical services, and potential housing. It is very difficult to navigate the system as most do not have cell phones or transportation. It takes a significant amount of time to assess each person's needs and help them to move forward.

Sierra Roots is working with the Nevada City police department, business community, neighbors, city council, Hospitality House, Salvation Army, Divine Spark, Nevada County Emergency Services, and Nevada County Behavioral Health in assisting the hungry and homeless residents of Nevada City. Communication between all agencies is key.

Anyone wishing to come to our meetings at the Methodist Church (every other Thursday at 1 p.m.) can contact us. We are welcoming volunteers who are interesting in helping us develop a comprehensive solution that will benefit the community as a whole. Visit

Pauli Halstead lives in Nevada City.

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