Food handout sees increase in customers |

Food handout sees increase in customers

by F.T. Norton

While a majority of the people in line at the USDA food handout Friday had taken advantage of the government program before, there were a few who had not.

One Gardnerville woman said she and her husband recently found themselves without jobs. She learned about the food program when she applied for assistance.

“I’m grateful this exists,” said Edna Huyler as she stood in line at the Community Center. “I didn’t qualify for unemployment.”

She said IOUs will likely get her family through the holidays, but her two children understand the situation they are in.

“We have no income right now,” she said.

Every two months the State of Nevada Food Distribution Program partners with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Carson City to distribute the city’s portion of the Emergency Food Assistance Program, a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income persons.

RSVP volunteer Rosemary Smith was the supervisor on the project, which also included a dozen National Guard soldiers to carry the boxes of goods to cars and distribute the items.

In September, the food ran out with 45 minutes left on the clock. Nearly 100 people were turned away, said Smith.

Wanda Shepherd, program specialist with State of Nevada Food Distribution Program, said some 300 families benefited from September’s program.

Because of that, Friday’s food allotment was larger, said Smith.

“I think with the economy and the holidays, it’s all contributed to the increase of people,” said Smith.

Sgt. Brent Peden, a Guard mechanic, said he’s been volunteering at the commodities distribution for the past five years and has seen an increase in the number of people coming for assistance.

“It’s been progressive. People are losing their jobs. I’d say for about half of them, this is their first time here,” he said.