Moapa Valley Community Food Pantry (MVCFP) will be distributing food on this Saturday, March 19, beginning at 7 am at Grant Bowler Elementary School parking lot.
But it is important to note that much of the work starts long before that. Some of the food is gathered and counted days before. Home delivery lists are prepared and distribution paperwork created and checked. Volunteers arrive at 4:30 am to prepare to meet the Three Square truck that arrives at 5 am. And then the mad dash commences to prepare for the 7am distribution. Afterwards, there is clean-up and written reports to submit to Three Square.
What began several years ago as providing food for about 25 families has grown into a major operation helping more than 250 local families.
The volunteers from the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP) has been handling th coordination effort for the project. But organizers say that this needed community service has become too large for just one entity.
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church has joined as a co-sponsor. However, MVCFP is still looking for more organizations and individuals who would like to share in the logistics and manpower needed.
The food comes from various sources. The bulk of the food comes from Three Square of Las Vegas. Lin’s Supermarket also provides food and is an outlet where community residents can buy and donate food to MVCFP. In addition, every four months, four pallets of food are donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop’s Store House.
The last few months have presented challenges in delivery days and locations. Three Square doesn’t deliver on holiday weekends. So, in January and February each year, they must move away from the third Saturday of the month. Last month food had to be received on a Friday. Because of school going on, that meant distributing food at the fairgrounds.
Added to that challenge about 6,000 pounds of bulk produce was received for the first time since pre-COVID. This required extra bagging of produce delaying the start time.
MVCFP is looking forward to being back at Bowler Elementary on the 3rd Saturday each month for the rest of 2022.
Almost every distribution day, MVRP member Larry Griffiths has the privilege of greeting the folks in the drive-through line.
“We have wonderful people who express their gratitude and thanks for whatever they receive no matter what it is or how much they get,” Griffiths said. “When we have shared this with Three Square they are amazed by your attitude. Thank you for being who you are. “
MVCFP Distribution Manager Cynthia Nelson recognized that there are families in Moapa Valley who, for whatever reason, are not taking advantage of 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 families we could serve, please let us know.”
For those interested in volunteering to help MVCFP, please check out 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.