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Local News

Food Bank of Northern NV holds MLK National Day of Service event

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Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a National Day of Service, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada is hosting an all-ages volunteer event on Monday. The goals are to help fight hunger and foster a culture of service.

Jocelyn Lantrip, the food bank’s director of marketing and communications, said the MLK National Day of Service event will include sorting and packing food donations, as well as bagging fresh produce for distribution. She said service is an integral part of the food bank’s mission, and kids are welcome.

“We’ve been doing this a long time, but really it’s a spectacle,” she said. “It’s not just a little session of volunteers — it’s a true party, and we get a lot done and we sort a lot of food. The ‘littles’ will bag some produce for distribution.”

The volunteer session is from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m. at the Food Bank’s regional food distribution center in Sparks. As of Thursday afternoon, Lantrip said, they had accepted about 200 volunteers, but there is a waitlist for those who might still want to participate. Volunteers can register online.

Lantrip said the food bank sees a significant amount of volunteerism and food donations during the holiday season, then both tend to decline substantially from January through the summer. She added that even if someone can’t make it to Monday’s event, there are plenty of other opportunities to help throughout the year.

“We have a lot of different sessions, sorting and packing food in our warehouse, but also handing food out at our distributions — and those can be all through a lot of rural areas in Nevada as well,” she said, “and they can sign up right on our website.”

Annually, Lantrip said, about 3,600 volunteers donate 21,000 hours, which is the equivalent of 10 full-time employees. She said volunteers’ time is the “most valuable commodity” in the battle to fight hunger. Almost 410,000 Nevadans face hunger, and almost 130,000 of them are children, according to the nonprofit Feeding America.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.