Meeting: Hunger study results |

Meeting: Hunger study results

The Food Bank of El Dorado County will be in the community of South Lake Tahoe to host a Hunger Response Network Meeting on Oct. 22 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Saint Theresa's Bread & Broth located at 1041 Lions Ave. to collaborate with local organizations to discuss the results of the South Lake Tahoe focused Hunger Study to understand the community's needs and the best ways to allocate the Food Bank resources, based on these results. Hunger response agencies, organizations and people in South Lake Tahoe who would like to attend the meeting are asked to contact Carey Fong at (530) 621-9950 or email to confirm attendance. Based on the results of this Hunger Study, the Food Bank and collaborating hunger response agencies will determine the best way to mobilize the Food Bank's resources which include partnerships with California Emergency Food Assistance Program, FoodLink, Feeding America, California Association of Food Banks, USDA, local grocers and others to increase food distributions to its partner agencies throughout South Lake Tahoe. On the same day, the Food Bank of El Dorado County will also be providing a Free Farmers Market to the at-risk community of South Lake Tahoe at the American Legion located at 2748 Lake Tahoe Blvd. from 10 to 11 a.m.

Food Bank to hold Hunger Response Network meeting in South Lake Tahoe

Hunger response agencies, organizations and individuals in South Lake Tahoe are invited to participate in the Food Bank of El Dorado County Hunger Response Network Meeting in South Lake Tahoe. The meeting will take place 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, April 23 at the American Legion Hall, 2748 Lake Tahoe Blvd. It is designed collaborate with local organizations to conduct a South Lake Tahoe focused Hunger Study to truly understand the community's needs and the best ways to allocate the Food Bank's resources in Tahoe based on these results. Those wishing to participate should contact the Food Bank's Communications & Development Director Carey Fong at 530-621-9950 or via email at to confirm your attendance. The Food Bank of El Dorado County along with a collaboration of other hunger response agencies, El Dorado County Health & Human Services Agency, and other community partners will conduct the Hunger Study. Based on the results of this Hunger Study, the Food Bank will determine the best way to mobilize its resources which include partnerships with California Emergency Food Assistance Program, FoodLink, Feeding America, California Association of Food Banks, USDA, local grocers and others to increase food distributions to its partner agencies throughout South Lake Tahoe. The Food Bank of El Dorado County and its partner agencies have served the community of South Lake Tahoe for more than 10 years. During this time, the Food Bank has distributed emergency supplemental groceries each month to its partner agencies, held free Farmer's Markets during the summer months, and distributed groceries from its mobile food pantry. South Lake Tahoe is part of El Dorado County yet it is often forgotten; therefore, the Food Bank would like to hear from the community on how South Lake Tahoe can be better served by the Food Bank as an integral organization that wants to "Prevent Hunger — Provide Hope" in communities throughout El Dorado County. If your organization or business is interested in sponsoring the Food Bank please contact Carey Fong. Contributions can be mailed to the Food Bank of El Dorado County at 4550 Business Dr., Cameron Park, CA 95682 or online at or by calling Fong at 530-621-9950. Together we can reach out to our neighbors who struggle to make ends meet.

Food Bank provides help to South Shore families

The Food Bank of El Dorado County handed out meal provisions to hungry South Shore locals on Wednesday in an effort to battle what the organization is calling Tahoe's "hidden hunger epidemic." It was the fifth time the Mobile Food Pantry has made it out to the area, which is experiencing a widespread hunger problem, said Mike Sproull, founder of the El Dorado County nonprofit. "South Lake Tahoe is hurting," he said, "and we are coming to help." The Food Bank typically feeds about 150 families when it distributes food on the west slope of the county, Sproull said. However, it fed about 286 families during the pantry's fourth visit to South Lake Tahoe. On Wednesday, families and individuals in need lined up in front of the large vehicle at American Legion Post 795. They grabbed a number and waited to the side as volunteers loaded shopping carts with food. About 143 families showed up for event. It wasn't the 280 Sproull was expecting, but he said more people may have come if they knew about the event. Bonnie Clarke, a Food Bank recipient, heard of the Food Bank's arrival after someone at the Tahoe Senior Plaza brought back frozen chicken. She went to the distribution site because money is tight, she said, and her husband has medical issues. "It helps me out a lot," she said of the donations. Mike Smith, of the Tahoe Food Closet, said it's been difficult spreading the word about distribution locations because South Lake Tahoe receives new transients frequently. "Everyone keeps sending their homeless around the state like a big revolving door," he said. But even without word spreading as much as the Food Bank would have liked, the organization managed to unload 11,800 pounds of food at Wednesday's event. Remaining food was used to stock other food distribution centers in the area, Sproull said. "There's not enough food in South Lake Tahoe to feed all of these people," he said. The Food Bank is teaming up with other agencies — such as the Network for a Healthy California — to serve the area more effectively. It also plans on conducting a study in South Lake Tahoe to better identify the hunger problem, he said. The study will start in about 30 days. Sproulls said he would like to continue to fight South Shore's hunger problem, but food distributors will need the community's support. "We need the community," he said. "This isn't going to work unless the community buys into it."

Food Bank conducts hunger study

A hunger study is being conducted during the next couple months in South Lake Tahoe to better determine the need for food assistance in the area. It is believed that a need for food is growing in the region, but the survey will help the Food Bank of El Dorado County more accurately identify the demand so it can better serve the community, said Food Bank Communications and Development Director Carey Fong. "Our bottom line is lets feed people, and that's what we want to do here," she said at a hunger response network meeting Wednesday, adding. "At this point, I don't know what our true needs are, but that's what this is going to show us." Members of several South Lake Tahoe food distribution organizations — such as shelters, senior centers and emergency food pantries — attended the meeting, which was held at the American Legion Post 795. There, Fong discussed the importance of working together and the history of Food Bank in South Lake Tahoe. But most notably, she talked about the need for concrete data. "Let's face it, there has been years of speculation on what the need is here in Tahoe. Food Bank included," she said. Food Bank is encouraging South Lake Tahoe residents who utilize food distribution organizations, or need food assistance, to fill out the survey. Some of the questions in the study cover demographics, food choices, finances and health. The survey ends June 30. John Healey, president and CEO of California Emergency Foodlink, a food provider for Food Bank, was one of the attendees at Wednesday's meeting. He said having "hard" numbers can help when agencies ask for assistance at the state or federal level. "People want data. They want hard, firm numbers," he said, adding. "We need everybody to get a hold of their senators, get a hold of their assemblymen, and say, 'we support supplemental food. There's not enough to go around. We have people that are hungry.'" On the same day of the meeting, emergency supplemental groceries were distributed to 197 families at the American Legion parking lot. "We've got to let our congressman know and our senators, these are real people, these are people we meet every day and these are people who need our assistance," Healey said. "And the thing is we've got to hold government's feet to the fire, but we can't do it without numbers." The hunger survey, which is only in paper form at this time, can be found at Food Bank of El Dorado County and participating food distribution charities in town.

Locals in need receive food at Free Farmers Market

South Lake Tahoe residents in need of food received shopping carts full of fresh produce and other supplemental groceries Wednesday during the second Free Farmers Market at the American Legion Post 795. The event, held in tandem with a Mobile Food Pantry distribution, supplied at least 200 families and individuals in the community. Food Bank of El Dorado County organized it in partnership with California Emergency FoodLink. Food Bank spokesperson Carey Fong said the organization started offering free farmers markets in the area as a response to feedback from a hunger survey. "The response has been we need produce," she said. Food Bank and FoodLink replied by bringing in a trailer of supplemental groceries — such as eggs, milk, meats and breads — and more than 15,500 pounds of produce Wednesday. "This is as much as we can load into that trailer," Fong said, standing near tables full of watermelons, asparagus, berries and more. After the event, which started at 10 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m., food was also distributed among various South Shore charities to help restock the local supply. Fong said the need for the provisions is high, even after months of distributing food in the area. "Honestly, I still see it," Fong said of South Lake Tahoe's hunger problem, "and I don't see it disappearing right now." Food Bank is planning a meeting in August to announce the results of the citywide hunger survey. More information on that will be available soon.

Food Bank to host free farmers market

A free farmers market will be held at American Legion Post 795 in South Lake Tahoe on June 25 to distribute fresh produce to those who need it most. The Food Bank of El Dorado County will host the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Officials ask that any South Lake Tahoe residents struggling to make ends meet stop by the market. One allocation will be provided per household. The free farmers market is the first of five over the next several months, according to Carey Fong, communications and development director at Food Bank. The organization will host a free farmers market on the fourth Wednesday of each month through October. According to Food Bank, an ongoing hunger study shows an increasing need and desire for more fresh produce in town. So the organization, in partnership with California Emergency Foodlink, decided to host a free farmers market for the community's at-risk population. "Our goal through this hunger study is to give the people a voice and help us as a collaborative community understand the needs in Tahoe so we can determine how to better allocate the Food Bank's resources to fill those needs," Founder Mike Sproull said in a statement. "While the study is still underway, it is glaringly evident that people want fresh and nutritious produce," he added, "so rather than wait for survey results we are responding to these requests now." If an organization or business is interested in sponsoring a distribution, Food Bank asks that they contact Fong at (530) 621-9950 or email for more information. The market will be open rain or shine.

Hard Rock Cafe Lake Tahoe raises more than $10,000 for anti-hunger campaign

Hard Rock Cafe Lake Tahoe raised more than $10,000 in November and December as part of the restaurant chain’s worldwide Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign, which aims to raise awareness for child hunger and poverty. The sales were made through the sale of the benefit compilation digital album SERVE4 and limited-edition pins and bracelets. All proceeds from the campaign will be donated directly to World Hunger Year to benefit charities that include the Common Ground Program and Pathfinder Academy in Kenya, the Pattanarak Foundation in Thailand, City of Joy in India, Yele Haiti in Haiti, Hope North in Uganda, Roots and Shoots in China, Project Bona Fide in Nicaragua and Sentebale located in Lesotho. The season kicked off Nov. 6 with a performance by Serena Ryder and a food drive to benefit Christmas Cheer, South Lake Tahoe’s emergency food bank. All ticket sales and silent auction proceeds went to World Hunger Year. On Dec. 17, the Sierra-at-Tahoe Winter Kick-Off Party raised additional funds through silent auction and door proceeds. To wrap up the season, Hard Rock Cafe Lake Tahoe hosted a New Year’s Eve party with DJ Craze. Bracelets were included in the price of each ticket and partial proceeds benefited WHY. For information, call Hard Rock Cafe Lake Tahoe at (775) 588-6200.

Movie review: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

The dystopian world created by author Suzanne Collins and inhabited by her teen heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is intended as a fearsome place. Lest you wonder whether such a setting constitutes appropriate PG-13 rated fare, rest assured, it's neither too frightening, too tense, nor too unhappy. The much-loved Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is never in any credible danger. That is, unless you consider becoming a sellout, a pretense Katniss is forced to undertake in order to prevent President Snow (Donald Sutherland wearing a General Custer mop of white hair) from killing her family, dangerous. Snow wants Katniss dead because she's a threat after having defied the rules of the 74th "Hunger Games." This annual contest pits teen tributes plucked from 12 districts against one another in a fight to the death. There can be only one victor, but Katniss' clever manipulation of public sentiment painted Peeta and herself as lovers refusing to kill one another. Both were allowed to survive. Their defiance gave hope to the oppressed peoples of Panem, but hope is the one commodity President Snow will not abide. Though Katniss claims to love local hunk Gale (Liam Hemsworth), she admires sad-eyed co-winner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and let's face it, he's cute. The pair are accompanied on their 12-district tour — set up for the purpose of toeing the party line — and are advised on how to best play their roles by Capitol envoy Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks). Katniss is troubled by the signs of rebellion her presence incites among the disenfranchised populace because "Star Wars"-like storm troopers execute the offenders. Snow and his new game overseer, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), conspire to recall previous Hunger Games winners for the 75th anniversary of the games, a rule change intended to eliminate Katniss once and for all. At training camp for the games Katniss refuses to make alliances with tributes other than Peeta, and she repeatedly implores their mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) to promise he will do everything in his power to save Peeta, even if that means allowing Katniss to die. Whether Katniss is tired of being manipulated or whether she believes Peeta is a more deserving choice remains unclear, but she feels guilty about previously killing contestants in self defense or to protect more vulnerable tributes. However, no sooner do the Hunger Games begin before Katniss throws her and Peeta's lot into an unspoken alliance with a handful of other tribute couples. Unfortunately, the story consistently veers toward melodrama, creating little tension. Jennifer Lawrence, capable of conveying both intensity and deep emotion, appears 10 years older than her co-star and love interest Josh Hutcherson. Though the action entertains, the characters are underwritten in favor of grand sequences that fail to take flight. Thanks to the cohesion of Collins's imagination and director Francis Lawrence's realization of her vision, the film's glorious visuals constitute the best reason to see it. The fantasy-science fiction storyline makes social commentary appropo of a totalitarian nation such as North Korea. In the U.S. the closest we get to the Hunger Games is American Idol. Nevertheless, Collins's books are wildly popular, assuring that each of the four film adaptations will ring up nearly a billion dollars in ticket sales. It's great that "The Hunger Games" can be counted among the more wholesome choices — I only wish it could also be counted among the more satisfying.

CCC makes ceramic bowls for fund-raiser at Strange Brew

Making a difference in their community, the California Conservation Corps traded their hard hats and chainsaws in for clay and a potter’s wheel. Their goal is to make handmade ceramic bowls, fill them with homemade soup and donate all profits to local organizations. On April 6 the CCC will conduct an Empty Bowls fund-raiser, with the goal of raising $1,000 for the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center and The Family Resource Center. The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. April 6 at Strange Brew, 2660 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The suggested donation is $10, which includes soup, bread and a bowl of choice. All proceeds from the event will be equally distributed between the Family Resource Center and the Women’s Center. For more information or to volunteer, contact Jennifer Gurecki or Nathan Skinner at (530) 541-5682. The idea of Empty Bowls was spawned in 1990 by a high school teacher in Michigan to help his students raise money to support a food drive. Guests were served a simple meal of soup and bread, and were invited to keep the bowl as a reminder of hunger in the world. By the following year the originators had developed this concept into Empty Bowls, project to provide support for food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations that fight hunger. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a 501(c)3 organization, was created to promote the project. Since then, Empty Bowls events have been held throughout the world and millions of dollars have been raised to combat hunger. “At the California Conservation Corps, we believe that hunger is more than an empty stomach. Those who do not have enough to eat often fall victim to many other social injustices. Empty Bowls is not only a means by which to raise money, but also to educate the community about the issues surrounding hunger. We also hope to promote solidarity and support within this community. There are many people in need in the basin,” Gurecki said. “When people come together and forget about all their differences, a lot can be accomplished for the community,” said Nathan Skinner, former Corpsmember. “We need to realize that if we do something constructive with those few extra hours in the week, a lot can be achieved.” What began as an overwhelming task slowly progressed into tangible results — more than 100 handmade bowls. The LTCC ceramics staff and students have been instrumental in the success thus far. Without them, the number of bowls produced would have been minimal. “I feel the ceramics class was a wonderful experience to be involved in helping the community, uniting with different people and exploring art techniques,” said Shea Mayfield, corpsmember. “It gave us the benefit of accomplishing a task as a group to help others.” Through the donations from the ceramic students and a ceramics studio in Santa Cruz, the vision of the event’s coordinators, Gurecki and Skinner, is possible. “What began as a simple conversation between Nathan and myself has been transformed into an amazing experience for our corpsmembers, and for our community. We wanted to do something that would not only engage our corpsmembers, but also greatly benefit people who live in Tahoe. Our goal is to raise $1,000 and involve as many people as possible in all steps of the event,” Gurecki said. The California Conservation Corps urges the community to join them in what they see as a critical time in the world. As we move toward budgets and spending that can often forget the organizations that provide vital services, it is extremely important that the community support them. “Unfortunately we live in a time where money is important. We as a community struggle when programs and services fail because of budget concerns. We know that the Women’s Center and the Family Resource Center are two organizations that need monetary and community support to succeed,” Gurecki said.

Postal Service food drive May 10

On Saturday, May 10, letter carriers and other U.S. Postal Service employees and volunteers will participate in America's largest single day of giving — the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, Campbell Soup, Feeding America and other partners. The food drive's timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need. To participate, just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by the mailbox on Saturday, May 10, and the postal carriers will do the rest.