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Group helping homeless students continues to grow

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

A mother of three young children in a car with windows covered in cardboard and duct tape came through the parking lot at Fritsch Elementary as Rebecca Rund was unloading boxes of meals for homeless students.

“And she stops her car,” Rund said, “and she gets out and she comes over to me and says, ‘You, you’re the one.'”

Rund told the story Friday at her program’s new warehouse off Highway 50 East, where volunteers for the Food for Thought program filled plastic bags with soup, crackers, granola bars and other food for 240 homeless students at seven elementary schools in Carson City and Virginia City who have little or no food on the weekend without the donations.

The program, which sends out 4,000 meals a month, moved into the warehouse donated by a local businessman this summer after starting in Rund’s house in 2006. The new building was necessary for the program to grow, she said, and it now serves more than double the schools it did before the move.

She said she is gratified when she hears from the people she helps, like the mother who stopped her at Fritsch Elementary.

“You don’t know how hard as a parent it is to tell your children you have nothing to eat,” she told Rund.

Volunteers react when they learn of the more than 400 homeless students in Carson City, Rund said, and those volunteers get together on Fridays to fill bags that are picked up by volunteers from the schools and discretely distributed to students.

Kaye Keeton said even though her children are in their 50s, she learned about how to help with the program about a year ago and thought “gee, I can do that.”

It’s is just one way to help children, she said, especially children many people don’t realize are in need.

Friday was the first day of volunteering at Food for Thought for Jeannine Kechely, who came with a friend.

“She said, ‘Hey, what are you doing today?'” Kechely said.

Many children in Carson City have a lot less than her family does, she said, and she was surprised how some of the children in the city have to live.

People in Carson City might not realize how many students are in need, Rund said, because they are often in temporary housing, including cars, campers and weekly motels.

– To get involved, call Food for Thought at 883-1011 or go to http://www.nvfoodforthought.org for more information.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.