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What ending hunger in Northern Nevada looks like (sponsored)


On World Hunger Day and every day, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada is taking action to end hunger once and for all.

You may think that world hunger is a distant problem or only experienced in other countries. But, the truth is—it’s closer to home than you think. The recognition of World Hunger Day (May 28) emphasizes the global food crisis.

Hunger affects the person standing in line next to you at the DMV, the mom with her young children at the doctor’s office, and the next-door neighbor you’ve known for the last 10 years. 

On World Hunger Day and every day, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada strives to end food insecurity and all the challenges that come with it. In 2021, the Catholic Charities network provided more than 44 million meals to 12 million people and added 450 new food distribution sites in the United States, including the more than 268,000 served in Northern Nevada. 

Keep reading to learn more about what Catholic Charities is doing to make a hunger-free community our reality.

Food Insecurity Threatens Rural Residents 

According to The Hunger Project, 75% of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas, and 50% of hungry people are from farming communities, where having access to affordable and plentiful groceries isn’t always guaranteed. 

Since the pandemic started, Catholic Charities has seen an increased demand for services from clients and community members living in rural Northern Nevada—almost 2,000 families currently receive monthly assistance from rural neighborhood food pantries. 

“Without our extensive food pantry network, many of our clients living in rural Northern Nevada would have nothing to eat,” said Marie Baxter, CEO of Catholic Charities. “Our mission is to ensure no one goes to bed hungry or anxious about where they will get their next meal.”

Baxter explained that some rural food distribution sites have grown from providing 25 boxes of food per month to 100 or more. To reach broader populations, Catholic Charities recently partnered with three additional food pantries in Jackpot, Tonopah, and McDermitt. 

Catholic Charities can also help enroll clients and community members in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides nutrition benefits to families in need and can improve overall economic well-being. In 2020, during the high point of the pandemic, SNAP reported more than 40 million people in need of monthly assistance. 

Paying Rent Means Skipping A Meal

The stress of the pandemic, coupled with higher living costs, has also caused a new trend to appear in Catholic Charities’ client demographics—the nonprofit organization has seen fewer individuals and more families, seniors, neighbors, and couples. 

“Food insecurity affects the most vulnerable, and with higher living prices, more individuals and families are at risk,” said Baxter. “We are not only committed to supporting each person’s nutritional needs, but we’re also committed to helping our clients navigate through times of financial burden.” 

With national food prices up almost 9% and an average 17% rent increase from the previous year, millions of people in the United States are just one missed paycheck or medical emergency away from experiencing hunger. 

Food insecurity also disproportionately affects older adults, and the pandemic only complicated things. Due to social isolation and stay-at-home mandates, many low-income seniors could not engage in group meals at senior centers and food banks. Dozens of seniors are dependent on Catholic Charities’ neighborhood food pantries in Fallon, Fernley, Yerington, and Lovelock. 

Filling The Gap With Resources

As a profoundly complex issue, it is evident that there needs to be more creative and diverse solutions to ending world hunger. Catholic Charities is in partnership with 43 neighborhood food pantries and is currently working towards opening more locations, including a client choice food pantry in the North Valleys.

In addition to its fleet of food pantries, Catholic Charities also delivers food boxes to the homes of 78 homebound families in Washoe County through the Thriving Families Support Center. But, aside from providing meals to about 15,000 people per month, Catholic Charities aims to fill the gap between services and overall client needs. 

While these efforts may start at the community level, they are part of Catholic Charities’ vision of ending world hunger and helping others lead meaningful lives. 

Catholic Charities believes access to proper nutrition—balanced and culturally appropriate—is a basic human right. If you’re searching for ways to help support the community, click here or call 775-322-7073, ext 220. For more information and to get involved, visit ccsnn.org.

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