New grant money aids expanding Food Bank of Nevada County
Know & Go
What: Food Bank of Nevada County
Where: 310 Railroad Ave #100, Grass Valley, CA 95945
When: 10am to 2pm, Monday through Thursday
Bob Dion began working eight years ago at the Food Bank of Nevada County as a warehouse manager.
As the years passed, he watched as the organization grew around him, and changed his delivery vehicle. First, he began distributing food with a small van, then a bread truck, and, eventually, a large food truck.
Today, Dion is the general manager of the food bank, and he’s thankful for a $100,000 in federal grant money the food bank received to expand the nonprofit’s freezer capacity, update their security infrastructure and computer programming system, and add an additional food truck.
“It means a lot,” said Dion of the money.
The additional check is just one thing helping the organization serve 1,000 families each month, including 26 schools in the area, according to Dion. Recently, the food bank is receiving more food like “Pork, chicken and blueberries.”
When asked why, Dion’s supplier in Sacramento told him that President Donald Trump’s tariffs, and the retaliatory actions from China, have left a surplus of food in the U.S.
“Our supplier is asking us to take more than we’ve ever taken,” said Executive Director Jim Redfield.
Where the nonprofit use to receive two or three trucks worth of food each week, they now receive six.
The new grant money helps sustain the organization and its 20 regular volunteers, allowing them to reach places like Paradise, Marysville, Oroville, Yuba City, Colfax and more.
“The food is free but giving it out takes a lot of money,” said Dion, referring to the fuel costs to travel 110 miles to Sacramento and back.
“There are 8,000 people a month that are touched by our food,” said Redfield.
This includes not just direct, but also indirect distribution from the food bank. In other words, the Food Bank of Nevada County is giving people food from two or three degrees of separation away.
A New Chapter
These days of more food, donations, and grant money hasn’t always been the case. When the executive director prior to Redfield left, the organization needed help, as it was bereft of institutional knowledge, Redfield said.
“The resignation, the hole, the condition that the food bank was in at the time — I had to do it,” said Redfield of becoming the executive director.
As a teenager, Redfield learned the food business from his father, who was a salvage grocery dealer. At that time, Redfield’s work with his dad put enough money in his pocket to save for college. And while not exactly the same as running a food bank, the work was similar.
While an undergrad, he followed a more religious path, and decided in his early 20s to become a pastor. Redfield remained a leader in the church for years, 14 of which were in Penn Valley.
About a year ago, having retired as a pastor, Redfield felt compelled to take over as the executive director of the Food Bank of Nevada County not as a “decision” but because, as he says, the organization needed him.
Today, the Food Bank of Nevada County collaborates with other nonprofits, like the Interfaith Food Ministry, and has a total of 26 partner agencies. They also maintain six different distribution centers, where they deliver food to churches and centers in Penn Valley, North San Juan, Grass Valley, Washington, Nevada City and Colfax.
“A distribution is a wonder to behold,” said Redfield.
To get access to food at a distribution center or at the nonprofit, people are asked to provide three things, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires: their name, how many people live in their household, and an address.
Although they are far from running out of food, one thing the nonprofit seems to have is a continuous surplus of fried, thinly sliced potatoes.
“An awful lot of what we’re getting is chips,” said Redfield. “You name it and we have it.”
You can reach Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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