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Food bank to provide free meals to kids over winter break amid rise in demand

A sign at Mt. Rose K-8 School of Languages reads “December 22 through January 8 winter break.” The school is in the background and is shrouded in fog.
Jose Davila IV
KUNR Public Radio
A sign at Mt. Rose K-8 School of Languages in Reno, Nev., reminds passers-by that the Washoe County School District's winter break starts on Friday, Dec. 22, when this photo was taken, and ends Jan. 8.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada will be serving free meals for kids over winter break amid a broader rise in demand for its services.

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 7 except for New Years’ Day, anyone between the ages of two and 18 will be able to get a meal each day from one of six sites around the county thanks to the food bank. This winter break program is similar to the one the food bank offers during the summer when kids are out of school and no longer receiving meals there. The goal is to fill that gap for Washoe County’s kids.

Each of the six sites — Ardmore Park, Sparks Library, North Valleys Library, Evelyn Mount Community Center, Sparks Rec Center, and Mariposa Academy — will serve a combination of breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack.

Kids just need to show up to one of the sites at one of these designated times to receive a meal. They have to eat the food onsite. Kids do not need to be a part of any extra program to participate.

Food bank communications director Jocelyn Lantrip said this can be a hard time of year.

“It’s a tough time of year for families anyway with all the expenses,” she said. “We just want to make sure that kids have access to these meals. And every little bit helps with a family and their budget.”

Lantrip said the food bank has been serving about 140,000 people per month, a 17 percent increase just from last year. She attributed much of the increase to the end of many federal pandemic-era assistance programs.

On Christmas Day itself, anyone, including families, can enjoy a Christmas meal catered by The Nugget’s chefs at Catholic Charities’ St. Vincent’s Dining Room in Reno from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Jose Davila IV reports on K-12 education with a focus on Latino students and families in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. He is also a first-year Report for America corps member. Es bilingüe, su familia es de Puerto Rico, y ama los tostones de su padre más que nada.
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