RISE Brings Homeless and Community Together with Food

Published: Apr. 18, 2015 at 11:39 PM PDT
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RENO, NV - Reno has a homeless problem, which for the most part, goes unnoticed in daily life. But three times a month, the community takes an active role in helping the homeless by making them a homemade meal and sharing a smile.

Where the homeless normally receive a meal from the Gospel Mission, this meal is different. It's cooked and served by local community members.

"We live here; these people are our neighbors. So it is just neighbors helping each other out. That is how you build community," said Ben Castro, President and CEO of the Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality, also known as RISE.

Castro started this community dinner about three years ago.

"I think we have set a tone of being welcome, being non-judgmental and bringing really good food. Food that is cooked with love," said Castro.

The program has its regular volunteers like sisters Marion Frances and Brenda O'Sullivan. They saw a need and decide to help out.

"It has been very rewarding. We really enjoy going out and buying the stuff, putting it together, bringing it. It has been really fun," said Frances.

"If you know where to go to help, it is easy. You know and it is just a rewarding good thing to do," said O'Sullivan.

Also, there are corporate volunteers. KOLOCares is the charity arm of KOLO 8 News Now and has spent time preparing and serving food.

"It's really about bringing the community together that separates rise from a lot of other organizations," said KOLO 8 News Now Chief Meteorologist Jeff Thompson.

Thompson has been working closely with RISE for several months, learning what we, as a television station, can do to further their efforts.

"Three Saturdays a month? That is not nearly enough. Coming out here, you can really appreciate how much need there is in this community and it is really getting in touch with that need and doing something about it."

RISE is a KOLO Cares pillar partner. To learn more about RISE and the other great organizations that make a difference in our community, visit

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