Food bank unable to adequately serve Tahoe clients: Local storage site would ease pain |

Food bank unable to adequately serve Tahoe clients: Local storage site would ease pain

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

This time it’s the food bank in need.

El Dorado County is looking for a facility where food can be stored for South Lake Tahoe recipients of the program.

The number of those in need has surged in the last three years from 150 families to 400.

“The need is so great. We need to store up here,” said Judi Harkins, assistant to Supervisor Dave Solaro.

The county figures it needs 1,500 square feet of space. Land and warehouses are in short supply. The Lake Tahoe Airport was mentioned as a possible site, but Manager Mike Dikun said his hangars are unavailable and need to be in a secure area.

Large trucks bring food from the 5,000-square-foot warehouse in Placerville. But the difficulty lies with the delivery personnel unloading 10,000 pounds of food for the South Shore once every two months. There’s not enough food and help to unload it. A forklift is also needed at a facility, along with a refrigeration unit, Billie Bridges said. She serves on the county Commission on Aging.

In Tahoe, the county program has also struggled with making its Senior Brown Bag program, which was providing at least 60 meals on the South Shore. After a lapse of service in the last few months, the county plans to reinstate the program once it has its grant money.

Food bank funds were once on the chopping block with California. The two primary nonprofit organizations — Christmas Cheer and Family Resource Center — which depend on the deliveries run out of food within the first two weeks of receiving them.

Family Resource Center Director Delicia Spees said the need increases in the fall when businesses cut back on employees and their hours during the shoulder season. Their allotments amount to about 100 food boxes, which are picked up by the recipients.

“If we had storage here, we could go in and get 50 more (food) allotments,” Spees said.

That’s precisely what county food bank Director Mike Sproull wants to have happen.

“We need a satellite food bank in Tahoe,” said Sproull, who’s trying to assemble a task force to find a spot.

He said options are scarce and high property values have made a solution unattainable. Given the county’s finances, Sproull would ideally like to have a structure donated, though renting a site is not out of the question.

The food bank supplies 1 million pounds annually to 40 nonprofit organizations across the county.

No deadline has been set to secure a facility.

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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