Vandals damage Food Bank of Nevada County truck | TheUnion.com
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Vandals damage Food Bank of Nevada County truck

The Food Bank of Nevada County, already struggling with increased demand, decreased donations and the loss of many of its volunteers due to COVID-19 concerns, received another blow Tuesday morning.

During the night, two people broke into a small refrigerated truck used by the food pantry for cold storage at its facility in the 300 block of Railroad Avenue in Grass Valley, shattering both its windows.

Surveillance video showed them trying to gain access to the interior of the box truck at about 2 a.m., said Grass Valley Police Sgt. Clint Bates.

While the suspects didn’t gain entrance into the locked storage area, the truck will be out of commission until it is repaired, said Nicole McNeely, executive director of the Food Bank.

“Every day has been a new challenge,” she said. “I have to be honest, this is a little heartbreaking.”

McNeely said it appeared someone used a large object, perhaps a baseball bat, to break the windows and rifled through the cab and the glove box. The suspect also hit a nearby vehicle, causing a large dent, she said.

The suspects took some miscellaneous scrap from a neighboring business, including carpeting and aluminum. Officers conducted an extensive check of the area and contacted several people at nearby transient camps, but did not locate the suspects, Bates said.

“That truck has been a lifesaver for us, so we can continue to feed people,” McNeely said. “This just adds to the stress. Now we will have to put the truck into the shop, we have to get it repaired — so we’ll be down food storage. I don’t know what this will cost us.”

McNeely said the Food Bank had seen a huge jump in need for services since the COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses to close and lay off employees. In Truckee, where the Food Bank works with Sierra Community House, the need has doubled, she said.

“Two weeks ago, we fed 1,836 people through our drive-thru distribution,” McNeely said. “Last week, we served 1,654. I’ve never seen back-to-back numbers like this.”

Because the food pantry can no longer accept donations from the community, its food supplies have been strained, she said.

“We are saving to ration what we are giving out,” McNeely said. “We are giving a family of two or three one bag of shelf-stable items, one bag of refrigerated items, and a bag of apples or oranges.”

McNeely said the Food Bank’s distribution is typically meant to be a supplemental source of food, but she knows many families are now relying on it as a main source of supplies.

“We’re trying our best to make sure people can feed their families,” she said. “It’s breaking my heart.”

McNeely said that financial donations are what is most needed, and cam be made via Paypal on the website at http://www.foodbankofnc.org/donate or by mail to 578 Sutton Way No. 187, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Anyone interested in volunteering can connect via the Volunteer Hub at Connecting Point — http://www.connectingpoint.org.

And, said McNeely, the Food Bank has relaxed qualifications for those needing food — they just need to provide their name and the number of people in the household. The next drive-thru distribution is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Grass Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborne Hill Road.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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