Plans under way for food bank |

Plans under way for food bank

More talk of a community food bank in South Lake Tahoe includes the idea of the local charities sharing the expense with the Placerville-based El Dorado County Food Bank. Otherwise, the program could ultimately be scaled down.

This is one point that came out of a meeting at Caesars Tahoe Monday between Food Bank Director of Operations Mark Lee, representatives from seven local charitable groups as well as District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago sitting across from her Election Day challenger, South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Ted Long.

Some representatives from the groups are concerned they’ll lose their own support system if a food bank comes to town. But Lee insisted the intent isn’t for the needy to bypass the charities’ services.

“I’m concerned this may take away money for the shelter,” Leanne Wagoner of the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center said. The nonprofit organization provides housing and food for women seeking safe refuge.

“There’s no interest in being the direct supplier,” Lee said.

He added that no preferred site for the Food Bank has been identified. But Long said the building of the former Office Depot was considered.

At least 1,500 square feet of space is needed.

Currently, trucks deliver from the 5,000-square-foot warehouse in Placerville once a month to seven Tahoe charities, and the need grows by about 20 percent every year.

One problem lies with getting the manpower to unload the trucks. Having a food bank here would alleviate that problem.

More than 161,000 pounds of food are distributed to the groups.

Payments for a future agreement could range from $100 to $1,500, depending on usage. Right now they don’t pay.

Overall, $2.5 million in food was distributed from the Food Bank in 2005. Lee is seeking a partnership among the Tahoe charities.

The director said if a Food Bank location is found in Tahoe then more perishable food may be delivered.

Transportation costs for the Food Bank have dented the budget expenses of the $300,000 operation by 45 percent over the last three months since gasoline prices have spiraled up.

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