Wednesday Nov 30 2011
Salt Mine an institution in Lincoln
By: Carol Feineman News Messenger Editor
Need to help feed families increased 5,900 percent
A quarter of a million, or 250,000, meals is a lot of food to provide in one month. Yet that’s what the nonprofit Salt Mine in downtown Lincoln gave to 1,800 Lincoln and Sheridan families in need last month, according to the organization’s founder and former paster Glen Vance. That’s a far cry from the 30 families receiving food from The Salt Mine when it opened in 1985, Vance said. Twenty-six years ago, The Salt Mine began as a youth center, according to Vance. Today, it’s a food closet for area residents and a resource center for the homeless. “There was a need in 1985 for a youth center. Kids of Lincoln had no place to go,” Vance said. “Our desire was to meet needs. The needs have grown. We started helping with food service the month we opened with the 30 families.” Fast forward to today and the number of families receiving food boxes, which consist of nutritious meals three times a day for a week, has grown 5,900 percent, according to The Salt Mine figures. In addition, The Salt Mine provides meals on site for residents in need. About 500 meals are served there every month, said Vance, who retired seven years ago but volunteers there every day. “Had we known that it would haven grown to 1,800 families, opening it would have scared us to death,” Vance said. The number of families helped by The Salt Mine “has jumped tremendously in the last two years,” according to Vance. “It used to be the majority of those we served were chronically poor,” Vance said. “Today, we have surprisingly people driving new cars who have gotten into a financial jam due to the economy and have no food. They’re losing their jobs, losing their homes. A gal today is going into a Roseville shelter with her kids and had no money for gas to get to the Gathering Inn shelter.” The Salt Mine is a subsidiary of Vine Life Ministries, Inc., with a mission of “enhancing and improving the lives of the young people and their families, in the city of Lincoln, California and surrounding communities ...” Mike Gove, out of work for two-and-a-half years, is grateful for The Salt Mine. “When food isn’t available, it gives me a place to go instead of being depressed about not working,” Gove said. Working for the state as an electrician at the University of California at Davis, Gove “was let go because of budget cuts” in 2008. “I’m trying to survive. Salt Mine makes it easier for me,” Gove said. The Salt Mine also provides area homeless with food and warm showers on a daily basis, according to the organization’s pastor Eric Long. Plus the homeless receive blankets and clothing to help them stay as warm as possible while sleeping at night along the ravine or other outdoor locations. “From what we know, 12 to 20 homeless right now are sleeping at the creek or they find a little lean-to shanty where they can get out of the elements but they’re still be in the cold,” Long said. Long estimates that 10 homeless men currently receive three meals a day at The Salt Mine. Clothes and blankets are provided through donated items at The Salt Seller thrift store at 454 F St. and The Salt Mine Thrift Shop at 103 Flocchini Circle. Residents can bring food and thrift store donations to The Salt Mine at 590 G St. from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The Salt Mine especially needs financial donations throughout the year, according to Joe Sorber, the organization’s manager of daily operations. “Food drives are great but they only last for so long,” Sorber said. “Money buys the other food needed year-round.” Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 155, Lincoln, Ca. 95648; made online at thesaltminelincoln.com; or brought to The Salt Mine between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 590 G St.