North Tahoe cleans out shelves for Project MANA | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe cleans out shelves for Project MANA

Kyle Magin
Sun News Service

Carrie Richards/Sun News ServiceDirector of Project MANA George LeBard puts food on the empty shelves reserved for their Brown Bag program. "Our goal this year is 3,000 pounds," said LeBard of the food collection effort.

Droves of North Shore summer residents are cleaning house and heading back to winter quarters, and a local charity is intent on filling its cupboards as vacationers in summer homes empty theirs.

Project MANA, or Making Adequate Nutrition Available, is hosting its 13th annual Brown Bag Food Drive from Aug. 20 to Sept. 7.

The person in charge of this year’s drive is Project MANA’s hunger-prevention coordinator Amanda O’Keefe. She is charged with the organization’s most important drive of the year.

She mentioned that the kitchen at Project MANA is currently bare, and the food drive is a large-scale event for the organization.

“We target all of the North Shore and hopefully this will stock us up through the beginning of winter,” O’Keefe said. “We like to get donations from second homeowners who are moving away now that summer is over and want to get rid of their leftover non-perishables.”

O’Keefe’s boss is Executive Director George LeBard, and he characterized the drive as an opportunity for MANA and the community alike.

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“The idea was to take advantage of the people who are returning to their homes for the winter, allowing them to clear their pantries so they don’t have to take the food home, and we get the food,” Lebard said. “Hey, if you’re going to be leaving, bring your food to us.”

According to O’Keefe, the food drive pays off for the organization. In 2006, M.A.N.A. provided food for 27,957 people on the North Shore, including Incline Village, Kings Beach, Tahoe City and Truckee. LeBard is expecting to collect at least 3,000 pounds of food from this year’s drive.

MANA is the result of a 1991 Sierra Nevada College project by student Ann Ryan. Ryan recognized a need in the community to provide goods to those who are less fortunate. The project now handles a variety of tasks from providing food to the underpriviledged to making sure area students have nutritious snacks for after-school activities. Home-bound residents, often injured or elderly, also benefit from MANA’s delivery of essential food to their homes.

“All of the food goes back to North Shore residents,” O’Keefe said.

The food is distributed three times a week across the North Shore. Tuesday distributions are in Truckee at the Recreation Center on Church Street. On Wednesday, food is distributed at the Family Resource Center in Kings Beach and on Thursday it is distributed out of MANA’s home office at the D.W. Reynolds Non-Profit Community Center in Incline Village.

In addition to public donations, local grocery stores support MANA with perishable goods such as dairy products.

MANA asks people to donate non-perishable goods, especially pinto and black beans, rice, cereal and oatmeal, canned tuna, meat, poultry and fruit, vegetables, pasta, tomato sauce and healthy snacks.

The drop sites for food include MANA’s home office in Incline Village, along with the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District station on Oriole and Tanager streets, the Southwest Gas on Incline Court and the Starbucks on Tahoe Boulevard. In Kings Beach, the North Tahoe Fire Station and Plumas Bank off North Lake Boulevard along with the U.S. Post Office on Salmon Street all welcome donations.

Drops sites include the Starbucks and Plumas Bank on North Lake Blvd in Tahoe City and the Truckee Fire Station on Donner Pass and the Albertson’s on Deerfield drive in Truckee.