FISH Food Bank donations are down

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -- For the sixth year, people in Carson City took part in "Empty Bowls." It's an event that brings out hundreds of people to help support Friends in Service Helping, also known as FISH, and raise awareness about hunger in the area.

"It's a great heartwarming and stomach-warming event," says Jim Peckham, Executive Director of FISH.

For a $15 donation December 7, 2018, people were able to go to the Carson Mall, pick out a bowl that was decorated by local artisans and people in the community, and get fed a meal donated by local restaurants. Participants were encouraged to keep the bowl they picked out as a reminder of the hunger in the community. Money raised goes to FISH.

Peckham says despite the economy improving over the last few years, hunger continues to be a problem in the areas they serve: Carson City, Douglas County, Storey County, and Lyon County. He says donations to its food bank are down 25 percent this year.

"A lot of people think that because the economy is great, that there shouldn't be any issues so they're not really donating to the food banks as often," says Peckham. "They're not contributing to help the people in need, but unfortunately, people get a job which is great, but then they lose their food stamps, they lose their day care. People find themselves in a bind, so what we do is try to help them so that they can continue to work and not be further behind by getting a job than what they were getting on government benefits."

Chelsea Lavender isn't just the Chair of Empty Bowls; she's someone who knows how much FISH can help those in need. Four years ago, she went to the organization for help.

"It was for food assistance," she says. "We were having a rough time. I was pregnant with my daughter and we just needed some help, you know."

She understands how easy it is to forget the need out there, but that it's also just as easy to help out when you can.

"This is just one way that we can really give back to our community and help fight hunger," she says.

FISH is a 2018 KOLOCares Pillar Partner.