South Lake Tahoe resident Glenn Dunn grabbed some bread and soup at American Legion Post 795 on Wednesday to bring home to his ill wife, Christy.
Christy Dunn has primary pulmonary hypertension and chose South Lake Tahoe as her final resting place.
Coping with his wife’s disease, along with memories of his dead parents, has been rough on Glenn Dunn around Christmas, he said. Not having enough money to buy food to eat doesn’t make things any easier.
“I’ve got a dollar to my name…” he said. “We’ve been living off food pantries.”
Many South Lake Tahoe families turn to local nonprofit organizations to make their holiday a little easier and, fortunately for them, there are several charity events to choose from around Christmas.
Christmas Cheer has been donating toys, clothes and food to families every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday this month, despite receiving extensive flood damage from a burst water pipe last week.
The charity has been giving out bags of food from its headquarters on Third Street, but will also be giving away Christmas dinners to registered families this Sunday and Monday at South Tahoe Middle School.
“The Christmas thing is so huge because there’s over 2,000 people to be fed,” volunteer Joanne Shope said.
Unfortunately, donations this season are unusually low, she said. Shope estimates that donations are about half of what they were last year, but the demand from families in need is as high as ever.
“We are struggling, but we are doing the best we can,” Shope said, adding that 1,014 kids have signed up to receive toys this year. “We are going to scrounge.”
Volunteers from Live Violence Free on Wednesday said they were experiencing just the opposite: donations are available, but families aren’t picking them up as frequently as they’ve done in the past.
“There’s so much extra stuff in the community,” volunteer Kristin Cody said, “and it’s going to waste to be honest.”
Live Violence Free will not be handing out donations again at the American Legion before Christmas, but other food options are available around South Shore.
One is Bread & Broth, which will be handing out warm meals at Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church Friday at 4 p.m. and St. Teresa Catholic Church on Monday at 4 p.m.
Sierra Community Church will be offering warm lunches on Christmas day from noon to 1 p.m., and the local Moose Lodge delivered more than 20 boxes of food to the Family Resource Center for families in need of a Christmas dinner.
For more information on giving donations to local charities, the public is asked to call Christmas Cheer at 530-542-4934 or Live Violence Free at 530-544-2118.