According to Feeding America in March 2022, more than 373,370 Nevadans will have experienced very low food security — and of them, 122,450 are children impacted by youth hunger.
One Reno-based organization working toward ending youth hunger and building resilient food systems in the community is Reno Food Systems, with a mission to cultivate community-based food systems through education, research, and civic engagement. Its flagship location, Park Farm, is a 5-acre vegetable farm where Reno Food Systems employees and volunteers grow nutrient-dense, organic produce.
Every week, Reno Food Systems delivers produce to the Eddy House, a nonprofit organization and youth shelter working to end youth hunger and homelessness in Northern Nevada. Eddy House is the only nonprofit agency in Northern Nevada, Eastern California, Southern Oregon, and Western Utah that serves homeless youth aged 18-24.
Staff and residents at the shelter prepare fresh meals using the donated produce through its Food for Families Program, in partnership with Greater Nevada Credit Union, which sponsors donations to the Eddy House.
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"They love the food and groceries that Reno Food Systems provides," said Trevor Macaluso, CEO of The Eddy House. "They're able then to create fun and creative meals with the fresh groceries and produce that comes in. They love learning to cook new recipes and be creative with the products that they're receiving. So, it's been a lot of fun for us to have this partnership."
Lyndsey Langsdale, president and farm manager of Reno Food Systems, said Nevada has the highest rate of youth hunger in the nation, tied with Louisiana, with 32% of the children in the state experiencing food insecurity and suffering from childhood hunger.
"It's important to get support from local businesses and local organizations, such as Greater Nevada Credit Union, which sponsors one of our pantry programs," Langsdale said. "So we're able to donate food to the Eddy House because of a grant that Greater Nevada Credit Union provided to us."
The $7,500 grant GNCU sponsored helps Reno Food Systems supply the Eddy House with healthy food ingredients, where it served 570 homeless youth in 2021.
Beyond hunger: Other ways Greater Nevada is helping northern Nevada
In addition to food insecurity, Nevada has one of the highest rates of youth experiencing homelessness in the nation. An estimated 1,300 young people in Nevada faces homelessness, which is 20% of the state's homeless population. That's why GNCU and subsidiary Greater Nevada Mortgage have partnered with Eddy House in Reno to help in their fight to end youth homelessness in Nevada through the Keys to Greater program. For each mortgage or refinance through Greater Nevada Mortgage, $100 of the revenue is donated to the Eddy House.
“There is no greater way to help someone than to make sure they have a roof over their head and a safe place to live,” said Wally Murray, Greater Nevada’s President and CEO.
In 2021, $119,300 was raised and donated from the Keys to Greater program to help end youth homelessness.