‘Couldn’t have come at a better time’: Community Involvement Day at the fairgrounds brings donations to local organizations, offers fair ticket discounts
“We’re in a place where this couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Food Bank of Nevada County’s executive director, Nicole McNeely, on the Community Involvement Day held Monday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
The event offered visitors an opportunity to receive a free admission ticket to the upcoming Nevada County Fair if they donated blood with Vitalant, or a buy one, get one coupon if they donated to a number of other organizations present — including the Food Bank of Nevada County.
According to McNeely, both food donations and volunteering have “become stalled as things open up,“ following a period earlier in the pandemic in which the nonprofit was receiving more of both. Need for the food bank’s services has gone down at the same time, said McNeely, although it is still higher than in regular distribution times.
According to McNeely, the nonprofit currently needs food donations the most, as its reserves have dropped recently.
McNeely added, however, “It’s more than food for us,” explaining that the food bank is also involved in the distribution of needed supplies such as diapers, feminine hygiene products, and pet food through its partnerships with other local organizations, including the Nevada County Diaper Project, which was also present Monday.
Karen Keegan, director of the Nevada County Diaper Project, said the need for the nonprofit’s assistance has been great amid the pandemic, and that donations are low at this time.
The nonprofit has a wide reach in Nevada County, providing families a dozen diapers per child, per week — totaling around 6,000 diapers per month, according to Keegan.
Keegan said past Community Involvement Day events at the fairgrounds have been “very beneficial” to her organization, and that in 2019 visitors donated around 1,000 diapers.
Bright Futures for Youth, a youth nonprofit whose programs include The Friendship Club and NEO (New Events & Opportunities), was accepting a wide variety of donations Monday, from craft and school supplies to clothing, toiletries, and cell phones.
“Because it’s a larger program, we have a wide range of youth with different needs,” said Bright Futures for Youth Executive Director Jennifer Singer.
For example, according to Singer, craft and school supplies would primarily be intended for NEO, which organizes a variety of events and activities for local youth throughout the year, while donations such as clothing, toiletries, and cell phones with minute cards would largely benefit SAFE (Stability, Access, Foundation, Empowerment), the nonprofit’s program working with teens and young adults experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
After originally planning to join Monday’s event in order to receive donated books to distribute at the upcoming fair, Nevada County Story Club founder Rose Gander said she has decided against distributing books at this year’s fair amid a recent increase in new COVID-19 cases.
As people stopped by with their children Monday to donate books to Nevada County Story Club, Gander offered books for them to take as well.
“It was a really tough decision, because I love the fair,” said Gander.
According to Vitalant donor recruitment representative Gayle Graves, 22 people had made appointments in advance to donate blood Monday.
However, said Graves, two people had already arrived as walk-ins within the first 15 minutes of the event.
Other organizations which participated in the event Monday included the White Barn Project, the Foothill Lions, Karing Closet of Nevada County, and Community Beyond Violence.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com
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