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Conquering Hunger in Grass Valley, One Moving Truck at a Time

How an empty truck brought out the best in people.

I believe if you look for the best in people, that’s what you’ll find. I’m even more convinced after Sunday, when I saw lots of people join hands to make a difference for our hungry neighbors right here in Grass Valley.

Quick Stats:

  • 6.2% - Unemployment Rate in Grass Valley
  • 21.9% of people in Grass Valley are living under the poverty level (2008-2012) 

First, a little background. As you know, Ernie’s Van & Storage is an agent for Atlas Van Lines serving Nevada County and Placer County in Northern California. I’m proud to say over 100 of my fellow Atlas agents have committed to support Move For Hunger. In a nutshell, we collect non-perishable food from our customers when they move, and we take that food to local food banks where it can be distributed to families in our local communities. Last year, this amounted to about 116,000 plates of food.

Move for Hunger designated April as Fill a Truck Month. So Ernie’s Van & Storage agreed to hold a day-long collection. We were fortunate to partner with Raley’s, one of the area’s finest supermarkets, and they allowed us to hold the event outside their store in Grass Valley. Raley’s was enthusiastic in their support for our event, and it made a huge difference.

Ernie's Van & Storage Moving Truck at Fill-a-Truck Event in Grass Valley.

Our Moving Truck parked at Raley's supermarket, ready to collect food for the Fill a Truck event.

Our operations manager got up at 5 a.m. and, with his wife and kids along, drove our truck to the store’s parking lot to get a prime spot. Between 10 am and 4 pm, our team of employees and family members handed out flyers to inform shoppers about hunger and what they could do to help. Did you know 12,000 people here in Grass Valley don’t have enough to eat? That fact is a real eye-opener.

I saw that empty moving truck bring out the best in people. One lady came out of the store with 10 full bags of groceries for us. Another lady, handing us a bag, said, “I’m starving myself, but this is what I can give.” Our owners, Doug and Stewart, tried to dissuade her, but she insisted. “I know it will come back to me,” she said. And so it went, all day long.

No one likes to give up a Sunday. But as I tallied up the final weight on what we collected (1710 pounds—plus $25!) I realized how lucky I was to have been a part of this event. I thought about how lucky I was to see the best in people, opening their hearts and sharing what they could to help our less fortunate neighbors. And I was reminded how lucky I and my family are to have enough food.

Our first Fill-a-Truck was a positive experience all the way around. We’ll be doing it again, you can count on it. If you want to take part, drop me a note and I’ll be sure to let you know when we do.  

EVS Crew at Fill a Truck Event in Grass Valley.

Bottom Left: Stuart Sowell – Owner; Bottom Right: Douglas Sowell – Owner; 

Top Left: Jon Luc Reshatoff – Operations Manager; Top Right: Matthew Sowell – General Manager

Want to learn more about how you can help fight hunger in Northern California? Contact us today!

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