|Drop in the Bucket|
The name "Drop in the Bucket" reflects the fact that one person's work may be insignificant but combined with the efforts of others, we can accomplish amazing things. Richard Drath started DIB food pantry in 2006 with seed money from the FUMC Foundation. Since its inception, DIB has been completely volunteer-managed and runs with no financial support from the church's operating budget. We rely solely on the generosity of church members and friends who make financial donations to DIB and "feed" the beige DIB food barrels near Fellowship Hall with canned food and other non-perishables. Twice a year, we have special DIB food drives: "Christmas in July" and "White Gifts for Baby Jesus" in December.
Initially a monthly distribution, on January 27, 2007, DIB made its first food distribution of 40 bags groceries. We now have biweekly distributions and give, on an average, about 200 bags of groceries each month. From January 2006 through the end of December 2014, DIB has provided about 16,000 bags of groceries and numerous "snack packs" to over 4,000 individuals or families.
Because of the recent expiration of the extension of long-term unemployment benefits and the decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps), we have seen increases in demand for food assistance. DIB partners with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, which requires DIB to keep distribution statistics for its records. DIB is allowed to purchase groceries that the Food Bank has bought in bulk. For the first half of Fiscal Year 2015 (July through December 2014), our church food pantry provided 1,003 bags of groceries to 360 individuals/families. Almost half of the participants were over 60 and almost three-quarters of them have lived in Reno more than two years.
The DIB food bags contain a protein (peanut butter, tuna, or canned meat), a box of macaroni and cheese or other non-perishable entree, a can of soup, a can of vegetables, a can of stew/ravioli/pork & beans, a can of fruit, a beverage, a snack, a package of ramen, and cereal or crackers. For our homeless guests who may live on the river or on Record Street, we make snack packs, which are gallon-size, ziplock bags of food that do not require cooking facilities. Although our food won't feed a family for a week, it helps when there are still a few days before the next paycheck.
We usually have between 15 and 20 volunteers on Saturday helping out. Some volunteers arrive at 8:15 AM to help set up. We bag groceries at 9 AM and distribute at 9:30 AM. When the groceries are gone, we recycle cardboard, put away tables, and are usually done by 10 AM (except for volunteer co-coordinators Jay, Jeff, and Nance who have other administrative chores).
If you are interested in our program, would like to volunteer, or have questions, please contact Nancy Wong at (775) 828-5143 or wongstuart @ aol.com.