As We See It

Helping during the holidays is great, but organizations need volunteers year-round

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Homeless shuffle into the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, the day before Thanksgiving, to receive blankets and jackets from Blaze’s Wish donation drive Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. 9 year-old Blaze Trumble started a blanket and jacket donation drive when he was 6 year-old and has continued the charitable tradition ever since.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

The holiday season is synonymous with helping the less fortunate. From toy drives to canned-food collections to serving meals in soup kitchens, the philanthropic spirit can be seen and felt all around the Valley during November and December. But what about the other 10 months?

“Our need is pretty consistent,” says John Fogal of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, one of the local organizations dedicated to providing meals and services to the homeless community. The nonprofit’s director of development says the Mission usually sees a spike in volunteer numbers—around 50 to 100 more per month—the last two months of the year, as many are interested in helping to organize, plan and prepare meals for the homeless around Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to Fogal, some regular volunteers will even opt out during that time to open up more volunteering opportunities for those looking to lend a helping (holiday) hand.

But as the Mission serves an average of 1,000 meals per day with only two or three paid staff members on-site, those helping hands are important every day. And while most volunteers will serve in the Mission’s dining room, support is also needed for the organization’s many other programs and services, from packaging and distributing hygiene kits to teaching GED classes to driving a Mission resident to church or a job interview.

“We’re very fortunate … There are days and pockets where we can use more help,” Fogal says. “Enough is never a really good word to use.”

For more about volunteering with the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, contact Marcus Badgett at [email protected] or 702-382-1766 ext. 1249.

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