April 27, 2020 – In January, a startling number of about 380 homeless students (K-12) was reported to the United Way of Nevada County Food Insecurity Committee. As a result of this report a collaboration with the Nevada Union Joint High School District, Interfaith Food Ministry, the Food Bank of Nevada County, and United Way of Nevada County was formed, and a new high school food pantry program was created to help students who have been dealing with homelessness and food insecurity. When this program began, the Food Pantry initially was open on Fridays at Nevada Union High School with volunteers providing bags of healthy shelf-sustainable food to students in need. This program has been run by a group of volunteers who have been very passionate about helping students get the much-needed food.

“I volunteered because I thought that I could help students in need. What I experienced was a group of young adults empowered to take care of themselves, their families, and loved ones.” Deborah Lewis, United Way Board Member.

The pilot program began at Nevada Union High School, with the hope of growing the program to include other high schools in Nevada County. Due to COVID-19 and the shelter in place restrictions, the High School Food Pantry has now become a mobile food pantry and is being held at Nevada Union High School and at Bear River High School.

Currently food is being distributed every other Tuesday during the Reduced and Free Meal distribution at the high schools. Volunteers, practicing social distancing and wearing masks and gloves, deliver bags of food as cars drive up. Approximately 100 families each week have received extra bags of groceries on Tuesdays as supplemental food during the distribution.

“When I meet these families that are being greatly effected by lay-offs and the effects of COVID-19, I feel very thankful that we live in such a giving community and that we are able to at least give them some healthy food to help them get through the week.” Megan Timpany, United Way Executive Director.

This program will continue as a mobile high school food pantry while the Reduced and Free Meals are distributed to families. Once the students go back to school, the program will continue to run at Bear River High School and Nevada Union High School. To get more information on this program contact United Way of Nevada County at admin@uwnc.org .