Honestly, with unemployment at 20% in the county, I can’t believe that anyone with two brain cells to rub together could actually make such a statement. I first heard of this situation via an email, and I had intended to write about it. The Dayton (Nevada) food bank in Lyon County has been forced to distribute food outdoors under E-Z-Ups because there is no building, they are told, to house them.
Dayton Food Bank needs new home
DAYTON — The need for a permanent home for Dayton Food Bank has grown more pressing as demand for its services grows.
Dayton Food Bank on the street
Currently, the food bank is housed in the community center. The 1918 building is undergoing renovation and restoration.
“Technically, the building is closed to large groups of people, because it has been determined to be structurally deficient,” said Dick Fabor, Lyon County engineer. “We’ve allowed staff to stay in the building, as we figured in the event of a catastrophic seismic event, for instance, those people could safely evacuate.”
But with the addition of Freida Carbery as food bank director, and the organization’s rapid growth in people being helped and services provided, the need for a new location is glaring.
“We just didn’t expect such an increase in services,” Fabor said.
In an effort to waylay those fears, Thursday’s food distribution and H1N1 flu clinic took place under tents outside the center.
Job-seekers also checked on job opportunities out of doors.
Job seekers at the employment "booth"
But the food bank needs to find someone willing to donate or lease space at an affordable rate.
“We have a variety of people looking for a new location and anyone willing to donate the space, or if a business owner would step up and let the food bank utilize a building, that would be very helpful,” Fabor said.
Fortunately, the weather was mild, but it shocked me that the county is not able to provide a place for this.
Retrofitting set to begin in March has made the deadline for finding a home for the food bank more urgent.
“At first, we’ll be tying the roof and floors to the walls and filling in some windows,” said Fabor, who has also overseen the restoration and retrofitting of other historic buildings in Northern Nevada. “That will be a 90-day contract.”
In March, the county also will request additional funds which, if granted, will allow for more work to be done on the building, a phase that would begin about a year from now, Fabor said.
Ultimately, the community center will be used as a cultural center with art displays and performances, as well as a meeting place. The buildings’ wings could be used as instructional space once restoration is complete.
I’m wondering why we are not utilizing our senior centers more for this kind of activity. We have a brand new one in Silver Springs, as well as in every other town in the county, and with the exception of meal times, they appear to stand empty most of the time, or have very few patrons. I could be wrong about that observation, however. How about one of our schools? What a great opportunity to teach our children!
Why should a private entity need to donate space? The email I received told me that even after repairs, the food bank will not be going back to the community center. However, the article seems to imply otherwise, so I’ll be updating as soon as I find out.
“I love preserving these old buildings and making them useful again,” Fabor said. “But in the meantime, we need to find another place.”
In spite of the current challenges, Healthy Communities Executive Director Christy McGill sees good things ahead.
“The county does have its priorities in order and understands what the community’s needs are and has supported that by allowing us to continue working out of this space,” she said.
“The way things are designed now, this is a community organization with accountability to the community. We all have a vested interest in the well-being of our neighbor. It’s such a beautiful thing.”
Thank goodness the food distribution isn’t happening today. We’ve had over a foot of snow fall since about 4:00 p.m. yesterday and it’s still coming.
Okay, Lyon County residents, time to step up and help your neighbors out. Surely there is some place where the food bank could go.
UPDATE: Per an email response I received to this post:
The “wings” the engineer refers to […] now house State Rural Mental Health counseling office, WIC, other Human Services offices, Family to Family (for families and children birth to 4), and Healthy Communities Offices. It appears to me that the county is displacing the only nonprofit and agencies that advocate for those in need, and putting “cultural” activiites in their place…….in the middle of an economic crisis.
Banging my head against my keyboard.