Silver Springs, Nevada – At the Governor’s Points of Light Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas on September 29th, 2016, Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchinson presented Kathy McIntosh with a statewide award recognizing her exemplary work as Volunteer Manager at the Silver Stage Food Pantry in Silver Springs.
The Governor’s Points of Light awards, honoring individuals, community-based organizations and businesses for their contribution to communities through volunteer service, are the highest honor bestowed on volunteers in Nevada. Award recipients were selected in 7 categories by a panel of leaders in business, government, and nonprofits from across the state based on achievement, innovation, mobilization and endurance.
The honor was based on Kathy’s long record of engaging hard working volunteers from all walks of life, ranging in age from 4 to 86. In addition to managing the considerable logistical demands of the Pantry, she assists food pantry volunteers in finding the tasks at the Pantry that give them the most joy, from greeting visitors, to packing weekend food backpacks for local students, to being part of a team that unloads thousands of pounds of food every month. And most importantly, there is unanimous agreement that Kathy sets a high standard of compassion and treats each visitor with dignity.
What Happens at the Pantry? During the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, the Pantry reached 3,804 children and adults in need of food. Food is provided through USDA Commodities, Food Bank of Northern Nevada, donations from businesses such as Walmart and many others, grant writing by Healthy Communities Coalition and Community Chest, local donations and fundraisers, etc.
Of the volunteers at the Food Pantry, Kathy said, “the volunteers do so much. It’s not just about standing at a table handing out food. It’s about so much more. The volunteers are the most wonderful, caring people I’ve ever met. What wonderful people we have in this community that give their heart and soul to help people. I love each and everyone of them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do.”
Many of the volunteers are also guests of the pantry, and so the pantry is an example of “co-production”, with those receiving the services helping to set the Pantry’s high standards for dignity and kindness.
Getting to the roots of hunger: The Pantry is unusual in that it has an adjacent community garden and hoop house where locals can learn to grow their own fresh food. In addition, the Pantry has partnered with other agencies to provide job training at the Pantry, and has also established a partnership with Community Chest so that there are employment specialists on site helping visitors find job training and employment. Many also learn valuable skills such as basic computer skills when they volunteer with the Pantry. In addition, area health agencies such as CCHHS and state health nurses are invited to offer periodic free vaccines, flu shots, etc. Volunteers are cross-trained to refer visitors to housing, health, education, and social resources in the region.
The Food Pantry is Part of a Regional Food Hub: The Silver Stage Food Pantry is part of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties’ “Healthy Food Hub”, an effort to increase access to nutritious, local, affordable and sustainably grown food. The Food Hub also includes school gardens, hoop houses, salad bars, and garden clubs throughout Lyon County schools; Community Roots garden center in Dayton; farmers markets that welcome WIC and SNAP; Jackrabbit Junction indoor farmers market; Community Harvest, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) food basket subscription; free cooking, gardening and food preservation classes; and the Dayton Food Pantry.
Nevada Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchinson presented Kathy McIntosh with the award