FISH kitchen reopens, but Carson City’s homeless didn’t miss a meal

The Friends in Service Helping (FISH) kitchen is shut while the facility is cleaned, so people like The Lady Tamales have stepped in to feed the needy.
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:57 PM PDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2022 at 2:25 PM PDT
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -The kitchen at Carson City’s FISH-- or *Friends In Service Helping*-- was closed earlier this week as the non-profit dealt with a rodent infestation before reopening Saturday. That didn’t mean their clients, the area’s homeless and disadvantaged, went without a meal.

FISH does a lot for those in need. A shelter, food bank, medical clinic and other services, but critically it also operates a dining hall that serves 50 to 60 a night. At the moment its kitchen is shut down. Its clientele has no other option.

“This might be the only air conditioning, the only heat they get in a day,” says Executive Director Jim Peckham. “It might be the only meal they get. We make sure they get 1600 plus calories with all kinds of different foods including desserts, coffee and water and juice and milk when we have it.”

“A lot of our people really depend upon that for their only hot meal,” says Mary Jane Ostrander of Carson City Human Services.

So, Ostrander’s agency tapped some block grant money and bought dinner from a couple of local restaurants.

Others stepped up. Billy Lavelle operates a mobile kitchen, The Bus Boy, out of a British double-decker bus. “This is dear to my heart,” he says. “I grew up a kid on welfare. I had eight siblings. My mom was raising us and there was a lot of community effort supporting us. I don’t forget that. So I want to make sure nobody goes hungry if I can help it.” He served up some pulled pork and coleslaw last night.

They call Fidelina Suarez ‘The Lady Tamales’, the name of her restaurant on the city’s east side. We found her preparing Friday’s Mexican fare--birria, rice and beans, a meal she is donating from a sense of love and hope. “There are a lot of people out there who are hungry. I have a son who is out there who’s homeless and I would hope someone would give him a little taco. That’s why I do it.”

It’s unclear when Peckham will get the clearance to reopen his kitchen. Regardless, it seems certain no one who comes here will leave hungry.

“We make sure that people are taken care of. That ball won’t get dropped even when this is going on.”

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