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Add a buck August

Dylan Riley, Appeal Staff Writer

Raley’s stores will be encouraging customers to donate an extra dollar for food through its annual Add-A-Buck program through Aug. 31.

The program, which began Aug. 1, has Raley’s clerks asking customers to add an extra $1 — or more — to the amount to their total bill. The money will go to local food shelters.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada shares the money collected in the Raley’s boxes with organizations such as the Salvation Army as well as Friends In Service Helping.

James McMullen, 70, food manager at FISH, said the program is an annual one.

“We’re one of the main agencies that receives stuff at Christmas and Thanksgiving,” McMullen said.

McMullen was FISH Executive Director Monte Fast’s first employee. Hired in 1989, “he never lost his first can of food,” Fast said.

“It’s grown tremendously, when it started we had a little closet, then we had a big drive which enabled us to enlarge to the complex we have today.” McMullen said.

Other stores also give to FISH.

“Scolari’s, Smith’s, Albertsons, Safeway all contribute pretty heavily to us. They give us produce every day,” McMullen said.

The two talked as they walked Friday through the food storage manned by volunteers.

“This is the same food essentially that the federal government supplies to the schools, to the lunchrooms, also supplies it for the Indians, the Washoe Tribe’s food bank, they have a private food bank of their own to cover their own needs, they get this stuff all federal, as part of the federal commodities program USDA,” Fast said.

Fast says FISH can give the food to whomever it wants whenever they need it.

“Being a private nonprofit we’re not bound by all of those regulations. We can be creative,” Fast said.

“We’re kind of down at the end of the railroad track out here in Nevada. It takes a long time for things to funnel down to Carson City, finally get here. They do finally get here,” Fast said. “That was one of the reasons we were founded, because the churches were being asked to fill the gap and it was just too big.”

The Food Bank provides about 10,000 meals for the working poor as well as those not able to work. They do this with the assistance of a RBC Dain Rauscher Foundation grant for $2,500.

Two-thirds of those helped will be children and senior citizens, according to the Food Bank.

Besides private foundations and corporate sponsorships, the Food Bank accepts gifts and donations from individuals and businesses within the community.

Nearly half of the Food Bank’s operating budget comes from private foundations, individual donations and special events.

According to its Web site, $1 translates into four meals for the needy, $25 will provide food for five families for three to four days, $50 will distribute 270 pounds of food to agencies serving hungry people and $100 will provide three to five days of emergency food to more than 50 people.

According to the Northern Nevada Food Bank, there are an estimated 33.6 million Americans in danger of going hungry, with 42,000 at risk locally.