Officials: Food Bank’s ‘trial run’ at Condon Park a success |

Officials: Food Bank’s ‘trial run’ at Condon Park a success

John Murphy and Patty Stone handed out the Food Bank of Nevada County's Thanksgiving turkeys and other holiday essentials at the Salvation Army parking lot Thursday, food left after the Food Bank's trial run at distributing at Grass Valley's Condon Park.
John Hart/ | The Union

Nevada County’s Food Bank is poised to periodically distribute food at Grass Valley’s Condon Park after what officials called a successful “trial run” of doling out Thanksgiving turkeys.

“We had a spectacular turkey giveaway,” said Toni Thompson, the food bank’s executive director, who estimated that 480 families picked up turkeys and other holiday essentials Tuesday from the LOVE Building at Condon Park.

The LOVE Building — the acronym stands for Local Organized Volunteer Effort — is the soon-to-be home of Gold Country Community Services, a senior-focused nonprofit that is scheduled to assume responsibility for the center from the city of Grass Valley in January.

“It was a success. We got people in and out. Some as quickly as six minutes,” said Sandy “Jake” Jacobson, executive director of Gold Country Community Center. “Somebody told me that is less time than it takes to go through Starbucks.”

When the food bank began its Thanksgiving distribution of turkeys and other holiday essentials, it did so at Grass Valley’s veterans building. It quickly outgrew the limited parking area and moved to Twin Cities Church, but Thompson said they were eventually asked to leave. In recent years, the food bank has doled out holiday food at the Salvation Army, she said.

With Gold Country fixing up and moving into the LOVE Building, the nonprofit has outlined a vision of turning the facility into more than a place for seniors, instead creating a community center.

“We’re all tied together; it’s one big team,” said Jacobson of working with the food bank. “I never thought I would be teaming up with another nonprofit, but that is the day and age we are in, where we have strategic partners we work with to make things happen.”

While the distribution reportedly went smoothly, the use of the city-owned building in a city park posed some potential problems.

“They can’t get too many people there at one time because you don’t want traffic to be backed up to the entrance of the park,” said Grass Valley Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout.

“If we do move forward, we will have to be cautious of (other) events in the park. We need to watch it and work with them.”

Police were also on hand Tuesday to observe, but Swarthout said the nearly 40 volunteers were well organized.

“It was kind of an experiment,” Swarthout said. “In my estimation, I thought it went really well.”

How often and when future food bank distributions will occur depends on obtaining some sort of event or use permit, Swarthout said.

“To me, it seems very doable,” Swarthout said.

The food bank also distributed turkeys at the Salvation Army Thursday, handing out food to 120 families.

“The only thing I am worried about is not having enough turkeys to give to our service people at Beale Air Force Base,” Thompson said. “If anyone wants to donate one, we would be happy to take it.”

For more information on the Food Bank, visit or call 530-272-3796.

For more information on the Gold Country Community Center, visit or call 530-273-4961.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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