A New Location Further East
A new location on East 4th street next to Threlke street across from Hooten Tire Co. has been picked for future volunteer meal services in Reno, moving these activist services away from the main shelter, but creating a whole new set of concerns and confusion.
The land is owned by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority and is being leased to the City of Reno for three years, with an option to renew every year.
A meeting to discuss these changes was held on September 9, at the Regional Public Safety Training Center on Spectrum Blvd.
Reno Deputy Police Chief Mac Venzon, Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam and Amber Howell, the Washoe County Human Services Agency Director, and volunteers who provide meal services also discussed the new mandatory “contract” that was recently sent out making volunteers responsible for security, safety, cleaning bathrooms, and trash before, during and after the meals.
More Anger About New Contract
As Our Town Reno reported previously, volunteers are angry and confused about a new form the City of Reno is asking them to sign before being able to serve community meals.
At the meeting, law enforcement officials told them they will be able to prepare food at the new site just not cook it there. They also said volunteers will not have to clean the bathrooms, as seemed to be indicated in the form that was emailed earlier, but just make sure that there is no one left at the site after 8 p.m., when the gates will be closed.
While the site is being prepared, groups are continuing to serve food at the Record St shelter.
Much Needed Meals
“At the end of the month we'll serve 400 people dinner,” Barghouti another member on the RISE Board of Directors for RISE said. “A lot of these people are working, they have jobs, they have a place to live, they simply don't have enough food. And so, you know, people don't want these kinds of programs in their neighborhood. But the reality is that food insecurity is in every neighborhood in town. If you're concerned about your neighbors who are unsheltered, you should be more concerned if they haven't eaten.”
Before its Saturday evening meals, RISE also distributes clothes and toiletries.
“None of us know how many days we have and all we know is that we have one day less today than we did yesterday,” Barghouti said of her now three-year commitment to RISE. “If this is something I can do to help someone else, then it's time well spent. I'm not a religious person. I always said if there is a God, they expect us to take care of one another. And if there isn't, we're all we've got,” she said.
No Timeline Yet
Another meeting is expected to be held in a month for more information, about when the move will be made, and whether some of the volunteer concerns will be addressed.
Barghouti for one would like to see more volunteer meals at more locations, finding people where they are, neighborhood to neighborhood.
“I would love to see multiple dinner sites around the city,” she said. “I think because there are people who don't have access, who wouldn't necessarily come down to 4th St, who could probably use the meals. I would like to see the town, the whole area, working together to meet the needs of our neighbors.”