Kids goods

Feeding the hungry: Organizations ask for help during the holidays

Volunteers work to serve a Bread & Broth meal.
Provided/Bread & Broth

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA – It’s the time of year to cuddle up, sit in front of the fire with family and friends, and enjoy the holidays.

But there are many in the community who struggle during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each year, food bank offerings provide hot meals and a chance to sit down with community members during what might otherwise be a lonely vacation.

Organizations like the El Dorado Food Coalition, established in 1999, involving a handful of faith-based organizations, working to provide assistance in El Dorado County, expanded to create a full-service food bank in August 2000.

“In 1999 my father had passed away and he asked me to start a charity for him,” said Mike Sproull, director of the El Dorado County Food Bank. “And I was like, ‘I’m not doing this,’ but he made me give him my word. And I kept my word. And I think what I got out of it, or what he was leading, he wanted his wayward son to do something that was good for the community and brought it around good people, instead of bad people. And that changed my life.

The El Dorado County Food Bank has a mobile pantry.

The charity started small, but quickly grew into the largest collaborative charity in El Dorado County, partnering with 30 other agencies. In an average year, they collect and distribute more than three million dollars in emergency food aid to communities across the county.

According to Sproul, these agencies come to the El Dorado food bank every week, and they get their food and they go to their area and distribute it.

“In Tahoe, we provide food to the Family Resource Center, Bread & Broth, Live Violence Free, Presbyterian Church and Phoenix Food Closet,” Sproull said.

The El Dorado County Food Bank serves 8,000 to 10,000 people a month.

The El Dorado County Food Bank also serves the Washoe Tribe, and they do a mobile pantry for bread and broth. They offer their mobile pantry and another tractor-trailer, and “we have free farmers’ markets where people come and get whatever produce they want,” Sproul said. They’ve been doing this for 20 years.

“We serve 8,000 to 10,000 people a month through our network of all charities,” Sproul said. “Upper Room Dining Hall, Bread & Broth, we provide them with 100% of their food. So to say how many homeless people we serve is thousands.

When asked what the El Dorado County Food Bank does for Thanksgiving, Sproul said his organization supports charities by giving out turkey. He also says he’s having trouble finding all the turkeys and sides because they’ve doubled in price.

The El Dorado County Food Bank has hundreds of volunteers. To become a volunteer, contact the food bank ( Whenever they organize an event or need volunteers, they send an email. At Tahoe, all of their volunteers help with the mobile pantry they do every month.

Volunteers work to serve a Bread & Broth meal.
Provided/Bread & Broth

“That’s what I want to be. I want to be judged on what we do, not who we are,” Sproul said.

Bread & Broth is a non-profit, all-volunteer charitable organization whose mission is to relieve hunger in the Lake Tahoe South Shore community. It began in 1989 as a multifaceted food awareness program, inspired by the leadership of Father John Grace, who was the pastor of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. Father Grace has partnered with the Community Presbyterian Church of Lake Tahoe, along with many other committed members of the community to fulfill his dream of helping the hungry.

On October 19, 1989, the first meals were served free at St. Theresa Grace Hall to all who walked through the doors. Since then, thousands of homeless community members have passed through the doors of Grace Hall.

As funding increased over the years, Bread & Broth focused on improving the nutritional value of foods provided at Monday evening meals. They currently serve 800 meals every Monday.

In May 2009, Bread & Broth added “Second Serving”, which serves soup and a simple entrée every Friday at the Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church.

“First Serving originally served twice a week in coordination with the Presbyterian Church, then the numbers went down,” Susan Baker, president of Second Serving, said in an email to the Tribune. “When meals started to pick up again, Bread & Broth realized they needed a second meal every week. Second Serving was therefore restarted in 2009 by Bill Homing at the Presbyterian Church. Second Serving is the name we created in 2009 to differentiate the two servings of meals. It now falls under Bread & Broth and is funded by us.

Second Serving currently serves between 40 and 60 meals each Friday.

In 2015, Bread & Broth added the Bread & Broth 4 Kids program, to provide weekend meals during the school year to the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, which faces the threat of going hungry.

“The program was started by a local woman over 10 years ago,” said Cheryl Breitwieser, co-chair of the children’s program. “She saw that the children were hungry over the weekend and wanted to do something. She started a small food program for children. About eight years ago, it got too big and expensive for her personally, because she wasn’t a non-profit organization. At that time, she approached the manager of Bread & Broth and asked if Bread & Broth could take him over. She met Diane Weidinger and Christy Slouch, who presented her food program to the Bread & Broth Advisory Board. The advisory board decided to accept it and it was then presented to the church board, which also approved it. The council renamed the food program B&B 4 Kids. At that time, B&B had received a large cash donation. This money was used to launch the B&B 4 Kids program.

Every week throughout the school year, students in kindergarten through eighth grade receive weekend food bags containing seven meals and four snacks. Children eligible for the program are determined by their family’s income and determined by teachers and counselors at Bijou Community, Sierra House, Tahoe Valley, Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School and South Lake Tahoe middle schools. B&B 4 Kids currently feeds 130 children, but they hope to reach 170 children per week.

Bread & Broth will be hosting its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, November 21 and is looking for donations. It will be held at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Grace Hall in South Lake Tahoe, from 4-6 p.m. A traditional Thanksgiving meal will be served, with turkey and all the trimmings. In addition, guests will receive a food gift bag containing dairy products, fresh produce, bread, pastries, meat and preserves.

For more information on how to help with donations or volunteering, visit or contact Sabine Hardin, Bread & Broth Director, at 530-318-8536.

The mission of the Northern Nevada Food Bank is to feed the hungry today and solve the hunger of tomorrow through community partnership. They provide food to families in need through more than one hundred and fifty partner agencies in northern Nevada and the eastern slopes of the Sierra in California, including Nevada, Placer and El Dorado counties .

Serving more than 120,000 people each month, half of whom are children, the Northern Nevada Food Bank has grown from a small food pantry to a regional distribution center. A nonprofit for more than 35 years and a proud member of Feeding America, the Northern Nevada Food Bank has a network of more than 200 food banks and is the nation’s largest national hunger relief organization. providing more than four billion meals. to almost every community in the United States.

Jocelyn Lantrip, Director of Marketing and Communications started working for the organization about 13 years ago.

“I was unemployed at the time,” she said. “I had been laid off and it was during the recession. I’ve always loved the food bank, but I landed here by serendipity. I like working for the food bank. My career prior to that time had always been in the for-profit field, and I love being able to work for something that is so close to my heart. Food shouldn’t be a luxury for some and I’m happy to help people.

The Northern Nevada Food Bank’s Mobile Harvest program is a direct service program that allows them to distribute perishable food in inner-city neighborhoods. Each month they visit over 45 locations across Reno/Sparks, as well as rural northern Nevada and eastern California.

When asked what the organization has done for the homeless over Thanksgiving, Joycelyn said, “At the food bank, we provide food during the holiday season, but we focus more on daily errands for families facing hunger. We receive food donations for the holidays and Thanksgiving and we also purchase food, but we distribute that food through our network of over 150 agency partners.

The Northern Nevada Food Bank is always in need of food and financial donations. Every dollar helps provide meals. Food donations are down, so they are working hard to meet the needs. Donors can donate at