400 reasons for which to give thanks | NevadaAppeal.com

400 reasons for which to give thanks

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal FISH food manager Jim McMullen, left, and volunteer Don Shearer unload turkeys from a walk-in freezer at FISH on Wednesday morning.

James McMullen is in the midst of his busy season. His employees include two bank vice-presidents, three engineers and a lawyer.

Now they all volunteer their time to work for McMullen as part of Friends in Service Helping, stocking shelves and preparing holiday food baskets for those in need.

By 2 p.m. Wednesday, McMullen estimated that more than 400 baskets had already been picked up.

“Our big rush was on Monday. We had 79 baskets go out in a single hour and more than 300 during the day,” McMullen said.

In preparation for the baskets given out for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, FISH coordinates several canned food drives during late October and early November. This year the elementary school drive generated more than 54,000 cans and the Carson High School drive, completed Tuesday night, garnered about 10,000 items.

“Most of the stuff we get is pretty normal, off the shelf stuff, but occasionally we get something that’s unusual,” McMullen said. “You can’t beat this community, they are so selfless in helping out.”

As for the main course, FISH received donations of frozen turkeys from several area businesses including Dick Campagni’s Capital Ford, the Carson Nugget, Carson City Elks lodge and 219 from the employees of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

For almost the last 10 years, Chief Deputy Attorney General for the Carson City office Jim Spencer has coordinated a donation drive for the office’s employees. He and Mark Gahn, now the vice-president of Human Resources and General Counsel at Western Nevada Community College, hatched the idea.

“When we started, very informally nine years ago, we thought that 20 turkeys, five pounds of potatoes and a can of cranberry sauce was a symbolic meal,” Spencer said.

“After we went around, we found we have enough for 52 turkeys.”

This year, the drive raised more than $2,000, allowing the office to purchase 219 turkeys along with 600 pounds of potatoes and 240 cans of cranberry sauce.

“Albertsons south is very good about working with us. They are incredible and very cooperative every year,” Spencer said.

Volunteers from the office dropped off the donations at FISH’s office on Monday.

McMullen said once they finish handing out baskets for Thanksgiving, they won’t be able to relax for long. After all, Christmas is just 32 days away.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.