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Less to go around

The Interfaith Food Ministry in Grass Valley has been forced to give less food to western Nevada County’s needy in recent months due to a decline in donations, President Tony Gilchrease said Tuesday.

This year, the local food bank cut its annual budget by nearly $30,000 because of fewer donations, Gilchrease said.

“Normally, we collect $10,000 a month from individuals and churches,” he said. “Those donations are down to maybe $7,000 to $8,000 a month. I assume it’s because food prices are up and gasoline prices are very high, so people don’t have extra money to donate.”



The food bank serves an average of 400 to 500 families each week, Gilchrease said. With help from more than 400 volunteers, the organization gave out about 68,000 bags of groceries in 2006, he added.

On Friday, 180 families received food from the ministry, Gilchrease said.




“Once a month, clients get a bag of staples that include spaghetti, tomato sauce, peanut butter, canned vegetables, fruits, tuna and soup,” Gilchrease said. “Once a week, they get a bag of rice, oats, dried beans, Ramen noodles, eggs, and produces like milk, bread, and deli, if we have them.”

Three times weekly

For the past 20 years, the Interfaith Food Ministry in Grass Valley has served the homeless, the unemployed and the under-employed in Nevada County.

“We buy a great deal of the food we give away – mostly canned goods, meat, and cereals,” Gilchrease said. “We are, unfortunately, not able to purchase as much food as we have in the past.”

The Interfaith Food Ministry also receives donations from local supermarkets, churches, social organizations, clubs and individuals.

The food bank gives food “to anyone who needs it,” Gilchrease said.

But because of the limited resources, the organization strives to prevent households from getting more than one food package per month.

“All we ask for is the Social Security numbers of the people who are getting the food and of those they’re getting food for, and proof of address,” he said.

That prevents people from registering under different names and lets the group keep track of the number of people served, he added. The proof of residency ensures the organization is helping local people, Gilchrease said.

Food is given out three times a week, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“The people of Nevada County are very generous,” Gilchrease said. “I understand there are many organizations that need their money, but any small donation will help us.”

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

Area food banks

Nevada County has two food banks – the Interfaith Food Ministry and the Food Bank of Nevada County.

To make donations:

• Interfaith Food Ministry – Send checks to P.O. Box 1174, Grass Valley, CA 95945. For more information, call Tony Gilchrease at 274-1117.

• Food Bank of Nevada County – Send checks to 578 Sutton Way, #187, Grass Valley, CA 95945. For more information, call 272-3796.

To receive food:

• Interfaith Food Ministry – Show proof of your Social Security number and residency in Nevada County.

• Food Bank of Nevada County – Show proof of income and residency in Nevada City, Grass Valley or Cedar Ridge.

– Soumitro Sen


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