A vision that became reality
A dream, a vision, a calling to help those not as fortunate.
Ten years ago, three Fallon ladies opened the doors of Epworth United Methodist Church to more than 20 people for their first of 81,000 hot meals served in a decade. Kathy Fraker, Mary Myers and June Young had approached their pastor, Gary Pope-Sears, in November 2005 about starting a ministry to feed residents who needed a hot meal once or twice a week.
With his blessing, the three ladies sought both monetary donations and food, and within three weeks, more than $3,500 had been given to the program.
“It was as miracle to have this conversation and then have it (the program) start in January,” said Pope-Sears, who is now a pastor in Sparks. “God had his hands in it, and then I saw it jump from one to two nights.”
First the program began with meals one night a week and then expanded to two — Mondays and Thursdays. Two years later Fallon Daily Bread began — as the community, church members and volunteers assembled — to break ground to begin construction of the Wolf Center, a facility behind the church that would cater to hundreds of people who needed help.
On Monday, Fallon Daily Bread celebrated another milestone in its short 10-year history by not only honoring the hundreds of volunteers who have helped prepare and serve food and clean up the kitchen but also the community’s generosity over the past 10 years. Mayor Ken Tedford read a proclamation commending the program and its service to the community.
“The community has embraced Fallon Daily Bread with its volunteers,” said Fraker, the programs’ volunteer director, as she was preparing for the evening’s events. “We have had no fundraisers since 2006, but donations are down.”
Although Fallon Daily Bread reaches out from time to time seeking donations for food or equipment, the community always responds. That fact is not lost on Young.
“One miracle after another, and we are still here,” she said.
Fraker and Young still help with Fallon Daily Bread, while Myers has moved from the area. Young is still as excited about the program as she was in 2006.
“We’ve done pretty good with two nights,” Young said of feeding the people. “It’s a big production to feed 120 people and clean up afterward.”
Over the years Fraker said volunteers have come from Naval Air Station Fallon, churches, the schools, service and youth organizations, Banner Churchill Community Hospital and other groups and firms. Fraker said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and St. Patrick’s Church have been on board since the beginning as has the Fallon Rotary Club.
Barbara Hertz, president the Fallon Lions Club, said her service club volunteered for four years, and she said helping those who needed assistance was gratifying. During the last few years, the club’s membership has turned over, but she hopes the club can help serve meals again. She said nothing replaces a smile or the words of appreciation volunteers receive.
While Fraker keeps the program going with volunteers, and Young takes care of the finances, Ron and Barbara Evans purchase the food. Ron Evans, who retired as a teacher almost 10 years ago and began volunteering one year later, said he enjoys the interaction with the guests at Fallon Daily Bread and loves to hear their stories. Fraker added it has been interesting to see the people who have been regulars come together as strangers helping each other. Now, they have formed their own community.
Ron Evans knows of that special bond among the guests who frequent the program.
“When one passes away, it’s like losing a member of the family,” he said.
A special table with one chair was placed in the back of the eating area for guests to their pay respects to those people who have passed away.
Evans said food costs for Fallon Daily Bread averages about $1,200 a month. He and Barbara ensure they know how much meals cost and how to stay within budget. Over the years, Ron Evans said they have received donations from ranchers and produce from agricultural businesses such as Lattin Farms. Stockman’s has donated all the milk for nine years.
Fallon Daily Bread averages about 9,000 meals a year, but both Fraker and Evans said during the recession, the number of guests from 2009-2012 rose dramatically. More than 11,000 meals were served in 2001 and 2012. Once the economy improved, Fraker said the number of people coming to Fallon Daily Bread fell. Those who were once depended on two hot meals a week, said Fraker, came back to volunteer and help the next group.
As the evening progressed, Fraker became a little nostalgic about the people who had a hand in starting Fallon Daily Bread and for those who have kept it going. Over the years, she has been appreciative of the people who donated money and food, but she wasn’t at a loss for what to say because she knows only two words are important —
Photos of many of the Fallon Daily Bread volunteers since 2006 are included in the online version of this article.