Food banks maneuver shutoffs, continue food distribution |

Food banks maneuver shutoffs, continue food distribution

Sam Corey
Staff Writer
Food Interfaith Ministry volunteers gearing up to work amid the power shutoffs. The food bank does not have a backup generator, but has continued to supply food for Nevada County residents.
Submitted photo by Phil Alonso

Know & Go

What: Interfaith Food Ministry food distribution (they ask people bring photo ID and a piece of mail)

Where: 440 Henderson St., Grass Valley

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday

What: The Food Bank of Nevada County food distribution

Where: Colfax Sierra Vista Community Center at 55 School Street, Colfax

When: 10 a.m. to noon Friday

What: Thanksgiving Meal Box Giveaway

When: 10 a.m. Nov. 14

Where: 12889 Osborne Hill Road, Grass Valley

Many are trying to keep their perishable foods from spoiling amid the power outages.

The same goes for local food banks.

The freezers and fridges at The Food Bank of Nevada County are barricaded, locking in the fading chill.

Executive Director Nicole McNeely said she’s been monitoring the temperature of her food storage units every few hours.

The food bank has two refrigerator trucks to store food, but it nonetheless may lose 1,000 pounds of food due to the shutoffs, said McNeely. When the power is out, it also has less interaction with others, being unable to use the phones, pay bills or conduct administrative work.

The food bank doesn’t have a backup generator.

“It’s hitting us pretty hard,” said McNeely, adding that she’s grateful to help others through tough times despite her organization’s difficulties. “When things like this happen, I realize how vital we are.”

Interfaith Food Ministry Executive Director Phil Alonso said it also can’t afford a backup generator, costing between $25,000 and $35,000.

“Clearly our concern is losing the product — the food items that are in (fridges and freezers) due to the power being out,” said Alonso.

Alonso said the food bank is considering acquiring a generator this summer, possibly via grant money.

The food ministry is able to manage the sporadic outages, said Alonso, but if it begins to lose power for weeks at a time that could be a different story.

More optimistically, the food bank is acquiring a bit more food than usual because “(grocery stores) may have twice as much to give us” after power is restored, said Alonso.


Many individuals who have never been to a food bank are showing up to collect food at both the Interfaith Food Ministry and The Food Bank of Nevada County, according to Alonso and McNeely.

Both leaders want to be clear: they distribute food to everyone in need. For the Interfaith Food Ministry, individuals have to provide identification and a piece of mail to prove local residence. For The Food Bank of Nevada County, certain restrictions are made for people getting U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities, but there is also donated food available for those that need it, said McNeely.

Alonso said more people have arrived at their distribution center once power has been restored.

For those with Cal Fresh benefits who have had their food spoiled, they can request a replacement through the Nevada County office from now until early November. Individuals must turn in a CF 303 form to do so.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email or call 530-477-4219.

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