MV Community Food Pantry needs volunteers

Moapa Valley Community Food Pantry (MVCFP) will distribute food this Saturday, March 19 starting at 7 a.m. in the parking lot of Grant Bowler Elementary School.

But it is important to note that much of the work begins long before that. Part of the food is collected and counted several days before. Home delivery lists are prepared and distribution documents created and verified. Volunteers arrive at 4:30 a.m. to prepare to meet the Three Square truck which arrives at 5 a.m. And then the mad rush begins to prepare for the 7am distribution. Then there is a cleanup and written reports to submit to Three Square.

What started several years ago providing food to around 25 families has grown into a major operation helping over 250 local families.

Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP) volunteers managed the project coordination effort. But organizers say this necessary community service has become too important for a single entity.

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church joined as a co-sponsor. However, MVCFP is always looking for more organizations and individuals who would like to share the necessary logistics and manpower.

Food comes from a variety of sources. Most of the food comes from Three Square in Las Vegas. Lin’s Supermarket also provides food and is an outlet where community residents can purchase and donate food to the MVCFP. Additionally, every four months, four pallets of food are donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop’s Store House.

The past few months have presented challenges in terms of delivery days and locations. Three Square does not deliver on holiday weekends. Thus, in January and February of each year, they must move away from the third Saturday of the month. Last month the food had to be received on a Friday. Because of the school going on, that meant handing out food on the fairgrounds.

In addition to this challenge, approximately 6,000 pounds of bulk products were received for the first time since pre-COVID. This required additional bagging of start time delaying products.

MVCFP looks forward to returning to Bowler Elementary on the 3rd Saturday of each month for the remainder of 2022.

Almost every distribution day, MVRP member Larry Griffiths has the privilege of greeting people in the drive-thru queue.
“We have wonderful people who express gratitude and thanks for everything they receive, no matter what they receive or how much they receive,” Griffiths said. “When we shared this with Three Square, they were amazed at your attitude. Thank you for being who you are.”

MVCFP Distribution Manager Cynthia Nelson acknowledged that there are families in the Moapa Valley who, for whatever reason, are not taking advantage of the MVCFP. “We encourage you to come and allow us to provide this service to you and your family,” she said. “And if you know of any families we could serve, please let us know.”

For those interested in volunteering to help the MVCFP, please visit JustServe.org or call MVRP President Mary Kaye Washburn at 702-592-5070; or Cynthia Nelson at 702.378.5359; or Larry Griffiths at 702.885.2593.

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