Food bank volunteers keep program going | NevadaAppeal.com

Food bank volunteers keep program going

Karel Ancona-Henry
For the Nevada Appeal
Courtesy Quest LakesDayton Food Bank is engaging volunteers of all ages. Hailey Vanus, 5, is the food bank's youngest volunteer.
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DAYTON – Her philosophy that others should feel the joy of giving back has blessed Frieda Carbery, director of Dayton Food Bank, with an abundance of volunteers, many of them once recipients of the bank’s services.

Since taking over as director in October, Carbery’s volunteer force has grown to more than 100.

“I am always looking for volunteer opportunities,” she said.

These opportunities include everything from unloading weekly shipments from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, making phone calls, donating freezer space for storage, creating emergency boxes for walk-ins, taking inventory and even decorating for the monthly food distribution.

“Our mission statement is ‘Freely we share,'” Carbery said.

In January alone, Dayton Food Bank shared with 197 families – 65 of those were first-time clients – 609 individuals and gave out 250 boxes of food. They served 553 clients from Lyon County, 23 from Storey, 27 from Carson and six from elsewhere.

“We primarily serve Lyon County residents, but it doesn’t matter where people are from, they receive, too,” she said. “The need has grown and will continue to grow until we see the economy turn around.”

A former food bank client who is, “thank God, no more,” Olga Nanez, 70, now spends nearly every day at the community center in Old Town Dayton where the food bank is housed.

“I took only what I needed and when I came in I could see the desperation of some of the people who have no job, no home and who have children,” Nanez said. “Being a recipient was very humbling. Today I see people come in with such a look of defeat, and I make sure they leave here smiling.”

For Jayne Beitel and Sue Vanus, mother and daughter, volunteering is a family affair. They are unemployed florists who have undertaken to decorate the food bank each month.

“It helps pick up people’s spirits, especially during this time of year when everything outside is (dormant),” Beitel said. “Those who come in are so appreciative of everything, and I think more are coming, especially as we let more people know about it.”

The impact of volunteering has been personal for Vanus, whose granddaughter, Hailey Vanus, 5, often comes to help, and is officially the food bank’s youngest volunteer.

“This gives me a sense of self-worth, I enjoy it, and the giving back keeps multiplying,” Vanus said. “Just like the food we give out, it multiplies through the power of prayer.”

Carbery gives special thanks to Zachary Weaver of Schwann’s for providing freezer space and to Dennis Lindsay of Dayton Car Club, who goes each day to Smith’s to collect donations.

She also has a “wish list” of items that are needed. These include card tables, so clients have a place to sit and eat, more freezer space or freezers, name tags, paper cups, plates and plastic silverware, as well as decorations for the seasons. Sample or full-size hygiene items (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion, etc.) for distribution are also needed.

“I also need someone who feels finding the perfect, permanent location for the food bank is their passion to show up,” Carbery said, addressing the fact that at some point, the food bank will have to move.

“If we keep serving others and let people know what our needs are, it all comes together,” she said. “I’m only one person and I have found that when I pass some of what needs to be done down to others and let them feel the joy and use their unique gifts, that only good comes.”

Nanez looks back on her time as a recipient as a blessing.

“I thank God for (the experience), because it showed me, even though it was a hard time, how much I had to be grateful for,” she said. “Everyone, even those who do not need help, should come observe the distribution.

“It’s really amazing and they will leave here thankful for whatever they have.”