By Kayla Anderson/Battle Born Media
Established in 1977, the Consolidated Agencies of Human Services (CAHS) in Hawthorne has been a saving grace for people who need some help getting through tough times. Therefore, they are fully prepared to help those in financial stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAHS mainly provides resources which includes a food pantry, rental and utility assistance, and specific help for women, infants, and children, but the biggest change in the last two months has been moving its food services to being drive-thru only.
“We offer a wide variety of services, including three different food pantries. Right now, we’re having everybody stay in their cars and go through the mobile pantry, and we are out there helping to direct traffic,” says CAHS WIC Services and Administrative Assistant Amy Murray.
The three different food services that they administer include the USDA food commodity program, its own food pantry, and a supplemental food services program for WIC (Women, Infants and Children).
Through its own food pantry, food distribution takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays where families can claim groceries six times in a 12-month period; now the CAHS mobile food pantry is open the second Wednesday of every month from 12:30-1:30 p.m.. Families can pick up groceries once every 30 days and food is distributed through USDA commodities the last Wednesday of every month.
CAHS generally distributes whatever food they obtain from its partnering entities, usually they receive various shelf-stable edible items from the USDA and produce from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
However, everyone is starting to experience more of a food shortage; meat products have been harder to get but are still provided.
“We try to maintain a soup, vegetable, fruit, snack, breakfast, and meat- if available- in every food bag,” Murray says of what CAHS provides, trying to give two bags of groceries per family. People qualify for food assistance for CAHS by filling out an application and showing a valid ID, but most of that is now handled over the phone. To qualify to receive the USDA commodities, people just need to give a verbal confirmation of their salary.
However, CAHS has not seen a huge spike in people needing assistance since COVID-19 came along. In January, CAHS equipped 104 people with food, in February it served 58 people, and in March 90 people were helped. This past April, 66 people (35 families) received food essentials.
CAHS has noticed a new crop of people inquiring about services since COVID-19 has come into play, mostly those who have recently lost their jobs or have filed for unemployment but haven’t received any benefits yet. In looking at the numbers, though, there hasn’t been a substantial demand.
“A lot of the reason why I think that people haven’t utilized our services is that they’re not sure if we’re open or not,” Murray says.
CAHS Executive Director Carla Hemmer also says that since the Hawthorne Army Depot is an essential business that employs about 75 percent of Hawthorne’s workers. With that many people still going to work, it could be the reason why more people don’t need CAHS services.
Along with its food pantry and drive-through distribution, CAHS also provides domestic violence services and rent/utility assistance, offering one-time payments of $300 to help with rent deposits and utilities (a person can be eligible to receive this service once every two years), along with various other services for children, women, and families.
For more information about CAHS and its services or how to donate, visit http://www.cahsnv.org/ or call (775) 945-2471.
Resources still available at CAHS during pandemic
By Kayla Anderson/Battle Born Media