Remembering Evelyn Mount

Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 6:17 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For decades, every year as the holidays approached, those of us in the media would get a call from Evelyn Mount.

She was once again enlisting us and a good portion of the community in her aim that no one go hungry. And, if she could at all help it, few if any ever did.

Filling that need was something she seemed compelled to do, something as natural and necessary as breathing. She would tell you it was simply the way she was raised. Before her family sat down to eat, she would be sent to check on neighbors to make sure they had something on the table.

“And, if they didn’t have it, when we’d come back we’d have to take some food to them and pray before we could eat” she’d say. “I was raised that way.”

It was difficult to ignore her example. And so, the donations, big and small, would start arriving at her modest northeast Reno home. And then it would all be distributed.

She worried constantly that she would have to turn some away empty handed. Somehow I doubt that ever happened. “Sometimes I had to take my Social Security and buy food.”

This huge operation started small. The first year she fed two dozen. Decades later she was feeding thousands.

She was always quick to credit the community and her small army of volunteers.

“I thank God for them,” she’d say.” They have been wonderful. Without them I couldn’t do this.” But every Army needs a general and there was never any doubt who was in charge.

These annual holiday food drives sending people home with turkey and all the fixings were familiar to everyone in the community for decades. Fewer knew that she also saw to it those living in low-cost residence motels without kitchens also had a hot meal.

But the years also brought family tragedies and health problems. A stroke in 2009 slowed but didn’t stop her. Finally, nine years later she was unable to continue. “I just can’t do it like I used to do it,” she told us at the time. I want to, but I just can’t do it.’” In 2018 she closed down the organization she called Community Outreach.

Her death late last week leaves a hole in the heart of the community. The cause of feeding the hungry falls to others. It won’t be easy. Evelyn Mount left the bar rather high.