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Church hands out 1,200 free food boxes each week

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:51 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - During recent Thursdays this month on the corner of Spokane St. and Sixth St. in Reno, there have been people waving signs that advertise free food and groceries. Anyone who wants to learn more is told they can pull their vehicle in to the parking lot of Vertical Church just down the street.

Once there, church members and volunteers will load up boxes filled with food into vehicles. People who don’t have a car are also invited to come down and take a box.

“Inside the boxes, you’ll see a gallon of milk, cottage cheese, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, chicken. So quality, quality food,” said Angelo Austria, Pastor at Vertical Church.

And the church has been giving away more than 1,200 of these boxes each Thursday. It’s been a relief for neighbors Tara and Mike.

“It makes a difference whether I eat the rest of the month somteimes,” said Mike, who did not give his last name. “I’m on Social Security. I only get $800 a month, so you know, it’s not a lot of money to pay rent and buy food, too.”

“When you’re not working, you do what you have to do,” said Tara, who also did not give her last name. “Even if it means getting a free food bbox. every little bit of it counts.”

The food boxes are coming from the USDA’s Farmers to Families program, which has been working to support American farmers and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pastor Angelo says the nonprofit, City Serve, was looking for a way to get these food boxes distributed to those in need in the Reno community and contacted his church.

“So here we are,” he said. “We’re kind of a vessel of that blessing.”

And while Pastor Angelo believes his church is blessed to be able to do this, those who have dropped by say this has been more than just helpful. It has left them feeling hopeful and they are encouraging others who are struggling to put food on the table to come on down.

“It’s for real. Go on in, it’s worth it,” said Mike.

Vertical Church will be handing out food boxes again on Thursday, October 29, 2020. The drive-thru distribution starts at 11:00 a.m. and ends when they run out of food boxes. Vertical Church is located at 601 Spokane Street in Reno. This may be the last Thursday distribution event at the church, depending on if more food boxes become available.

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