Ever year during the holidays, from November to January, searches spike on Google for “food bank” and “food pantry,” a sign of holiday need, according to officials from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
So it seems entirely fitting the Food Bank just announced a $100,000 donation from Google that will help the organization distribute fresh produce in low-income areas through its Mobile Harvest program.
Think of the donation as offline search results.
“They bring the food to the neighborhoods, removing the need for transportation, and they have worked tirelessly to create a welcoming environment for their patrons,” said Kate Franko, Google’s regional head of public affairs.
“Google is proud to support an organization working to not only reduce, but also destigmatize, food insecurity.”
Pulling into 40+ neighborhoods
Food Bank officials often say that every dollar donated provides three meals. Mobile Harvest, akin to a farmers market on wheels, will pull into more than 40 neighborhoods this year to help feed individuals (including seniors) and families.
In 2021, according to the Food Bank officials, Mobile Harvest visited 44 neighborhoods each month, providing 9,500 people the equivalent of more than 2.1 million meals. The program’s outdoor distribution was a plus during the pandemic.
“We are so pleased that (Google) has made the issue of food insecurity one of their top priorities, and also share our view of the importance of nutrition and fresh fruits and vegetables being readily available to those who need them in our community,” said Nicole Lamboley, president and CEO of the Food Bank.
Fuel, food and a big reach
Besides fuel and maintenance for Mobile Harvest trucks, the Google donation also will help pay for food sourcing, shipping and storage.
In 2020, Google completed a $600 million data center in Storey County. The Food Bank and its network of 150 partner agencies provide food services throughout Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the organization has helped an average of 107,000 people per month.
Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink editor for Reno News & Review. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsJLW or on Facebook personally or at @FoodNevada. Sign up here for the Reno News & Review free weekly newsletter highlighting our most recent stories.