While the prices of food continue to escalate, more of our neighbors will be turning to food banks, charities, and churches for help – many of them for the first time. While the winter season is traditionally filled with festive gatherings and holiday meals, many people will not be able to afford food.
Feedingamerica.org along with approximately 200 nationwide food banks are working to ensure that everyone has food not only through the holidays, but far beyond…and, so is White Pine County!
In October’s County Commission meeting, the Commission granted $10,000 in ARPA funds (America Rescue Plan Act) to the WP Ministerial Assn. food bank for the remodeling on a new space. Mayor Robertson reported the new space is behind Economy Drug, and donated by the Tour & Rec Board with contractors donating their time. He went on to say that funds donated by the County will be matched by the City of Ely, and that this was slated for action on the city’s agenda. Also, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is looking into a grant, and there is funding from the Nevada Department of Agriculture, as well as support from Catholic Charities.
Mayor Robertson reported that, in the past year, the Food Bank had gone from serving 30 families per month to serving 90 families per month, and that he formally requested assistance in the form of the remaining ARPA funds to aid in building a more effective centralized location for the Food Bank. Commissioner Hank Vogler asked why there had been an increase from 30 to 90 families when there were many employment opportunities in the area. Mayor Robertson replied that he did not have a sure answer, but felt that cutbacks from the assistance programs that were rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic played a role. He mentioned that the Food Bank and Catholic Charities tracked who came in for food (thus, the new number regarding families). Mayor Robertson also acknowledged that economic issues had not helped, and he reiterated that he felt that it was a worthy cause. Commissioner Richard Howe commented that with holidays coming up, the need for food would probably get worse, and felt that the County should do what it could to help. Chairman Bybee stated that the issue would be where to pull money from. Finance Director Kathy Workman suggested that the money could be moved from the payroll adjustment. Vice Chairman, Laurie Carson moved to approve the item, and Commissioner Vancamp seconded. The motion carried without opposition.