Though food and housing are essential for families and individuals everywhere, officials with the Amargosa Valley Senior Center are stressing the urgent need of housing food for residents of limited resources.
As expressed by Curt Stengel, president of Amargosa Seniors Inc., officials have started a fundraiser to construct a commodities building at the site, roughly 45 miles northwest of Pahrump
Stengel said each month for the past three years, the facility has sponsored a distribution of food commodities to more than 80 families, due to their respective limited resources.
He noted that the commodities service originally started from two rooms in the senior center, with one small office and one slightly larger room, while the main office area was used to register clients and another room served as the actual distribution area.
Bottom line, officials want to continue the food program, but they need to purchase a metal building to use as both a distribution facility and storage center.
“The need is urgent since other facilities are no longer available or are unsuitable for this type of food delivery and we need to beat the heat of the summer of 2019,” Stengel noted in a letter requesting donations. “You are well aware that Amargosa Valley can be a harsh environment not only for those needing food and shelter but for our volunteers, who help with commodities food distribution.”
Stengel also said that paletized boxes and bags of food are delivered by truck and initially the items were being unloaded from the pallets and handed from volunteer to volunteer to get them up stair steps and into the building.
“The clients came through the room in a line and their boxes were loaded with a predetermined amount of commodities for each family based on the number of family members,” he said. “Eventually a ramp was built and clients used donated shopping carts to make the operation more efficient but the area was never adequate for the huge amount of commodities.”
Additionally, Stengel said that distribution has been changed to the senior center’s parking lot with temporary shade structures used each month.
“The excess commodities from the prior month have to be brought out to the parking lot for redistribution,” he said. “Newly delivered food is left on pallets for distribution, but at the end of the day, leftover commodities still have to be brought into the old senior center building and frozen foods hauled to the “new” senior center freezer. The doors are not large enough to accommodate pallets or pallet jacks.”
Moreover, senior center officials are concerned about volunteers working outdoors in extreme conditions, as in the past, volunteers have worked in temperatures of 110 degrees or more during the summer months, while the winter season brought temperatures down into the lower 40s.
“Occasional rain and wind have also made conditions even more adverse,” Stengel said. “Our volunteers range in age from 17 to 83 years of age, and it is especially difficult and dangerous for the seniors to be working in those extreme conditions. The need is for an accessible part of a building dedicated to commodities, distribution and an environmentally-controlled, secure food storage area. The facility would also serve as a waiting area for clients, some of whom are disabled and cannot stand in line.”
As such, Amargosa Valley Senior Center Manager Diane Brigham said she believes that help is on the way, as several area businesses and other entities have stepped up to assist in the fundraising effort, as the cost for the new building will be upward of $80,000.
Brigham noted that a brand new Silver State industry has provided a very generous donation.
Officials from Acres Cannabis, a 37-acre cannabis farm located in Amargosa Valley, recently donated $5,000 to the senior center.
“Other businesses that have contributed to our first round of requests were A-1 Secured Storage, US Ecology Nevada, School Lane Orchard and Vineyard, Weitman Trucking, First Solar, Longstreet Inn and Casino, and Valley Electric Association,” she said. “They have made very generous donations to the commodities building project.”
Brigham also noted that area residents have assisted in the effort.
“I would like to ask our residents for their support by going out to lunch and dinner locally, recommending that visiting friends and family stay at the Longstreet, and by purchasing School Lane Olive Oil, available at Pahrump Valley Winery.”
In regard to recipients of the commodities food program, Brigham shared what she said was a heartwarming anecdote.
“My favorite story is about the blended family of eleven whose children were thrilled to get all the breakfast cereal they can eat for a month,” she recalled. “All of the clientele are thankful for the commodities distribution. We served 110 families on a recent Friday.”
Area residents who are interested in providing a tax-deductible donation for the commodities building can make checks payable to Amargosa Seniors Inc.
The center is located at 443 E. Desert Senior Lane.
For additional information, contact the following senior center officials:
Diane Brigham at 775-720-2063, Jean Adams at 775-372-1343, Jim Rook at 702-493-1217 or Dave Hall at 775-764-0964.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @pvtimes