Theft Hinders But Doesn't Stop Evelyn Mount's Holiday Food Drive

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RENO, NV - The scene at Evelyn Mount's home in northeast Reno is the same each year at this time.

An army of volunteers gather and what was once a garage quickly becomes a large food pantry, holding what will be the holiday dinners for hundreds of families.

It would be a chaotic scene, but for the general in charge, barking orders, cajoling, keeping everyone moving.

There's an added urgency this year however. Last Sunday, as she was at church, someone entered her home and made off with dozens of turkeys and Cornish game hens.

"They took from people who really needed it," she says "and I just don't understand how people could do something like that. I really don't."

She figures the theft has put her behind by about two weeks in her goal to distribute 900 holiday dinners this year, but as word spreads help arrives, people dropping off turkeys and other foodstuffs,

Others bring checks, even pocket cash.

One young man walks up and hands her what looks like $25 dollars.

Would you like a contribution form, she asks. He declines.

"But I might take this and go to New York," she jokes to everyone's amusement.

He shakes his head, saying he just heard about the theft on the radio and drove by to offer his support.

Among the arrivals are local employees of Southwest Airlines. They had planned to spend the day helping her organize dinner packages.
They also brought turkeys, lots of them.

"When we heard about the theft here last night we decided that we needed to step up and replace the items that were stolen and add a few more to it.," says "Southwest's Reno Station Manager Melissa Farnsworrth.

So, in the end the theft only toughens Mount's resolve and draws others to her cause.

It is a lifetime calling, she will tell you, instilled in her as a child, something she has followed all her years, an effort she began building with her husband here in Reno in 1979.

As the need has grown, so has her determination though she's quick to share the credit.

"Really it's not me. It's the people of Reno and Sparks. It is not me at all. It's them."

"I think she keeps us reminded just how blessed some of us are," says Farnsworth, "and some of the bad times that other people have experienced."

It will,apparently, take more than a heartless thief to stop her.

"I'm going to keep doing this until God calls me home. That's all I live for each day."