Hungry times

While there is no shortage of hungry people this season, food banks in Washoe County and nationwide are facing severely reduced donations. Supplies from the Agriculture Department’s Bonus Commodity Program dropped from $154.3 million in 2005 to $67 million in 2006. Tighter inventory controls have also left supermarkets and other stores with less food to donate.

To help, Richie West of West Racing is hosting a food drive on Dec. 16 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“I’ve been pretty lucky in my short life,” West said. “I just like giving back.”

Nonperishable items will be welcomed at the Straw Hat Pizza parking lot, 295 Los Altos Pkwy., in Sparks. Turkeys or money to purchase turkeys is also appreciated.

All donations will be given to Evelyn Mount’s Community Outreach Food Drive. Mount, 81, has been organizing Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives for nearly 30 years.