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February 22, 2021 – It all started with an email. 

Volunteers at The Food Bank of Nevada County bag up pasta for distribution

BriarPatch Food Co-op Grocery Manager Shawn Bailey was looking for canned vegetables to donate to The Food Bank of Nevada County as part of an in-store canned food drive. So he reached out to distribution company Natural Value Inc. The company couldn’t supply the canned vegetables because of a shortage caused by a storm in the Midwest that wiped out over 10 million acres of crops.

Instead, the company made a surprise offer – to deliver 513 cases of bulk pasta weighing 10,260 pounds. They even paid the $575 shipping costs to transport the organic pasta from Sacramento to The Food Bank’s Grass Valley warehouse. 

“We’ve always felt good about Natural Value because of the quality of their products, but this put them over the top,” said Bailey. 

With an expiration date looming, throwing so much food away when people are going hungry didn’t seem right. In Nevada County, the number of people who seek food from The Food Bank has increased in the past year. Since Jan. 2020, The Food Bank has seen a dramatic increase in need – 328 percent increase in the number of households and 282 percent increase in the number of individuals served. 

“Many people feel the effects of COVID 19 right now, so if we can do our part to help those in need, we are happy to do so,” said Pamela Gifford, Chief Operating Officer for Natural Value Inc. 

“We donate to whomever we can. We believe in human kindness and that good food should be available and affordable for everyone,” said Gifford. 

Volunteers will turn the donation of nine pallets of bulk pasta into pre-bagged portions that will be shared with food pantries in neighboring Truckee and rural foothill communities, said Nicole McNeeley, Executive Director of The Food Bank of Nevada County. Pasta is a highly sought-after item among food pantries, because it is easy to add components like protein, sauce, cheese and veggies to make a substantial meal. 

“It was pretty magical how it all worked out,” said McNeeley. 
Folks who are interested in volunteering with The Food Bank can sign up with The Co-op’s PatchWorks volunteer program. Learn more here: https://www.briarpatch.coop/community/volunteer/ 

BriarPatch Food Co-op is a community-owned cooperative business. We provide our community with quality food and products, strengthen our local economy, and support local/regional businesses that are committed to regenerative agriculture, sustainability, humane practices, and organic farming.