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Highlighting responsible giving in the Truckee Meadows

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 10:01 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Tucked away near Downtown Reno at Broadhead Memorial Park sits a tent-like community of roughly 150 unsheltered people.

“I know that when I was on the street, I didn’t think that anything I did mattered so I didn’t do much,” Grant Denton explains.

Outreach and support are personal to him. Denton was once homeless and battled addiction to heroin and meth. You may know him more recently as the founder of the Karma Box Project.

“In order to help someone grow to the next phase, it takes getting to know them, it takes coming out and engaging with the group and it takes helping agencies that do this, to help get them to the next phase,” he adds.

Denton’s team has support from non-profits, the city of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County leaders. Now they need you. While it’s admirable to come down and drop off clothes or food, that kindness creates another issue as Denton details, “What that looks like is a lot of times we bring things out to help clothe or to feed. We’re not thinking about the trash that comes with it.”

Denton shared pictures with KOLO 8 News Now, showing boxes of food donations, piles of clothes everywhere and other trash.

“When people bring things into us there’s no outlet for us, so there’s no real trash pickup here,” Denton says.

From Greater Nevada Field to Commercial Row alone, volunteers are cleaning up about 20 yards of trash a week, which Denton says translates to more than 3,500 pounds! He attributes this to unsheltered people living a disposable lifestyle.

He’s not by any means saying stop giving or don’t help. It’s about adjusting our thought process. Giving your goods directly to nonprofits like the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission or Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada is one option. Denton adds that knowing about this information about the trash problem can tailor our generosity.

“We have so many people reaching out and messaging us, what can I do, what can I do and that’s one of the most important questions you’ll ever ask in your lifetime,” says Denton.

Responsible giving. As thoughtful as it is to bring things directly to the unsheltered population, it is critical for us to be mindful about also bringing things out.

Volunteers are needed as the trash cleanup happens five days a week. Gloves and bags are provided, and remember to bring your mask. If you’re more comfortable staying at home and would like to donate money or supplies, contact the agencies below:

Karma Box Project: www.facebook.com/karmaboxproject

Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission: rsgm.org

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada: ccsnn.org

Contact Grant Denton at Grantadenton@gmail.com

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