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Charity gives holiday meals to 2,700

by Kurt Hildebrand

By Thursday, Friends in Service Helping will have provided Christmas dinner to a record 2,700 people.

“We probably set a single one-day record for feeding needy people in Northern Nevada,” said charity director Monte Fast.

Volunteers passed out between 400 and 450 Christmas dinners on Monday in Carson City and another 140 in Dayton.

“We’ll reach close to 700 by the time we’re done on Wednesday,” Fast said. “We want to be sure everyone gets a nice treat.”

Volunteers Dr. Matt Barulich; his wife, Suzanne; and their four children were among the volunteer passing out baskets.

“They’ve been doing it since the kids have been able to walk,” Fast said. “They are just part of a whole crew of volunteers. We had nine people passing out dinners.”

Fast said volunteers work hard, and the process is streamlined.

“Everything is all prepacked,” he said. “All we have to do throw the frozen bird into the bag and pull them out.”

There was a line of recipients Monday morning, but Fast said the charity managed to bring people inside to distribute the meals.

Fast said he has been in contact with the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.

“We are trying to avoid duplication, and the Toys for Tots people have really been hitting it. We sent out 800 or more postcards inviting people to participate.”

But so much charity turned out to be costly this year.

Fast said he spent $1,900 on 250 turkeys at Wal-Mart. He had to purchase another 100 to complete the dinners.

“Anyone who wants to help us cover those birds, we will appreciate it,” he said. “We’ll even take a turkey or two. That would be very welcome.”

Contact Kurt Hildebrand at hildebrand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.