Katherine McLaughlin didn't mind the few extra dollars on her grocery bill each month.
By spending $10 or $15 extra for a good cause, McLaughlin, Carson City recording secretary, collected 300 pounds of food for the city employees' annual food drive to benefit Advocates to End Domestic Violence, a local shelter for those seeking refuge from domestic violence.
Having the food pile up in her house since September was more than worth it for a program she considers more than deserving of the help, she said.
"I know. I've been there, and I appreciated what people did to help me," she said. "I don't buy a lot of expensive stuff, but it's stuff I think they'll need. It's stuff I needed."
Looking at more than 1,000 pounds of food in the back of a pickup truck Thursday, Carson City firefighter Jeff Davies quipped the canned food would last two days at the firehouse.
The case of shampoo, he joked, would probably last for five years.
But the food and other supplies weren't destined for the fire station. Davies and fellow firefighters Dave Park, Mike Santos, Ken Engels, Matt Donnelly and Jim Asa spent a day off work shopping for food for those the Advocates serve.
Walking from the Grocery Outlet with a receipt in hand, Asa noted the group had gone over its $950 budget.
"Do you think they'll mind 40 cents?" he asked.
The yearly contest among city departments produced 4,000 pounds of food last year, with firefighters contributing about 1,100 pounds -- enough to win the interdepartmental contest. They succeeded in topping themselves this year: When weighed in, they had 1,440 pounds of food.
"It's the holiday season; it's time to give," Davies said. "We see domestic violence victims on a day-to-day basis with what we have to do. If you can help, you should."
"We're giving back to the community," said Donnelly, who brought daughter Sage, 17 months, along on the shopping trip. "We're fortunate to have jobs and work. It's good to be able to give back."
The firefighters pulled money from the Carson City Firefighters Association fund to pay for the food, and Monday will pull another $4,000 to shop for the Toys for Tots program. They are raffling a Jeep to help raise money for the association, which donates money to multiple causes in the capital year-round. For information, call 887-2210.
Today, food collected by city employees will join food donated to Advocates in their annual food drive.
Lisa Lee, advocate executive director, said just the 1,700 pounds of food from Carson firefighters and McLaughlin would feed those at the shelter for over a month. She expects today's Share Your Holiday food dive from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Governor's Mansion, to garner around 10,000 pounds of food.
Lee said with more people in the shelter this year -- 43 compared with 31 last year -- the food and miscellaneous supplies from toilet paper and nuts to cake mixes and deodorant is needed more than usual.
"We have two food drives annually; this is our major one," Lee said. "This is what gets us through winter and spring. People are so generous this time of year."
You can help
What: Share Your Holiday Food Drive
When: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Governor's Mansion, 606 Mountain St.