Volunteer at the Colorado River Food Bank
And Improve Lives – Including Your Own
Laughlin, NV – As lifestyles post-Covid-19 return to normal, some regional charities are still struggling to get a foothold. Fierce competition for grant dollars coupled with a steady uptick in the number of residents who need assistance are some of the reasons for this. Thousands of residents have gone back to work, but thousands more permanently lost jobs because businesses just did not make it. What is emerging are hundreds more locals struggling to meet their rent, utilities, and other monthly obligations on minimum wage.
The Colorado River Food Bank and Community Clothes Closet has been serving regional residents for decades utilizing many county, state and federal programs aimed at eliminating food insecurity. Acquiring new donations and recruiting more committed volunteers are pressing priorities so that qualifying households in the Bullhead City, AZ and Laughlin and Searchlight, NV areas can be helped. Plus, as a bonus, experts say volunteering in a facility like a food bank has positive tradeoffs – better mental and social physical health.
Thomas, a volunteer in the warehouse area, says that many of his volunteer friends leave for the summer for cooler climates in the mid-west but the group remains “focused on the right now and what we can do each day just to serve the cause post virus. “It can be busy, but this work is simply about providing help to hungry families one at a time,” he said. “That is what we must do each day and we happen to have a great time doing it.”
He is one of about 15 warehouse volunteers whose shift is usually between 8 am and 2:30- 3:00 pm, Mon-Fri and his duties require sorting and bagging food and regularly lifting approximately 20-25 pounds. Twice the current number of volunteers are essential and some who cannot lift but can
perform other low impact tasks are needed as well.
Volunteers like Kingman resident Angel, take two shifts a week and know the benefits to one physically, mentally, and spiritually are far reaching. “It helps the communities – and it takes everyone pitching in to do it,” she said. “So, the teamwork is obvious but there are personal elements to it. You see it come together every day and that alone is worth it,” she said. “But add that we are all good friends here and we understand the
gains that come with it.”
Hours can be somewhat flexible. There are volunteer assignments that don’t require too much lifting such as positions at the front counter of the Food Bank, where checking in clients and providing referrals to other social services takes place. Those volunteers can stay somewhat stationary for most of the shift.
Volunteer and Warehouse leader Pat Cartee and Front Office Volunteer leader Carol Rossi said the only prerequisite is dependability. It is uncommon, but some people try volunteering, and it just isn’t for them. Those who stay pick a couple days a month and some volunteer a couple days a
week. Searchlight also needs assistance and volunteers.
The nonprofit attempts to make certain that every client who needs food and clothing gets it through several programs at federal, state and county levels. Monthly food boxes, Senior Commodities Food, The Emergency Food Assistance Program from the USDA, Three Squares Mobile Pantry, holiday food programs, daily food bags and the Community Clothes Closet are the mainstays. Since January, the group has provided monthly food boxes and assistance more than 35,000 times over.
The charity has given out more than 20,000 items of clothing – including shoes for adults and children. One new teary client shared in June that the clothing will provide her son’s back to school clothes. The statistics are significant to the nonprofit team because they puts it on track to
break all previous annual records.
“Most think of volunteers as retirees looking for something to do,” said Cartee said. “Our volunteers vary greatly in age, backgrounds and employment status. We look for people in our towns that share our passion, are reliable and have integrity as they are entrusted with a lot.”
Food Bank Treasurer and longtime community advocate Darryl Dauenhauer agrees that volunteering at the Food Bank gives purpose to many. But if that isn’t possible, the organization is asking for residents and businesses to consider monetary donations. Most food banks have advantages when it comes to using cash: bulk buying power for nonperishables that are specifically needed and at a cost of less than 70% of the publics are chief among them.
Clothing, plastic grocery bags, unexpired food like mac and cheese, canned meats, soups, fruits and vegetables and items listed on the website are all vital donations. “Find something that you’re passionate about or something that inspires you, and then find that need in your community,” he said.
“There are dozens of reasons why you should volunteer and dozens more to volunteer here.” Indeed.com, the massive online job prospecting service, agrees. The company has recently commissioned several studies about volunteering and how it impacts the volunteer life. They suggest volunteers take a moment to feel good about helping others The company says the positive effects of volunteering counteracts stress, anger, and anxiety.
The Colorado River Food Bank and Community Clothes Closet is located at 240 E. Laughlin Civic Dr in Laughlin, NV 89029. The website is www.coloradoriverfb.com and the phone number is (702) 298-9220. The organization is open from Mondays through Fridays from 8 am to 3 pm.