As We See It

Giving thanks: An arts collective distributes sandwiches to Downtown’s homeless

The Vegas Tribe arts collective distributed sandwiches and bottles of water to Downtown’s homeless this past Sunday.

It’s three days after Thanksgiving, and Ashley Michaud is watching over eight people inside Alex Huerta’s PeaceNart Studio making peanut butter and/or jelly sandwiches. They’re to be distributed to Downtown’s homeless—a test run for what he hopes becomes a monthly endeavor.

Vegas Tribe, the arts collective of which Michaud is a principal member, has been raising money every year through its otherwise free events centering around dance, performance and mindfulness. On this day, the Tribe spends nearly $70 of its collected $1,200 on bottled water and supplies, producing 106 sandwiches, packed two to a bag. Michaud fills his SUV with the sack lunches and water and gives his crew instructions, including handing out at two locations and then looping back for potential clean-up. The City of Las Vegas has already reached out to discourage him, emphasizing litter and safety concerns. Someone in the group wonders if they’ll be cited. “I’ll take the ticket,” Michaud says.

But feeding a park’s indigent patrons is no longer illegal, and Michaud and crew are uninterrupted during distribution. It’s not the ideal strategy for assisting the poor or the community, but after feasting all weekend, it’s an immediate and meaningful way for the group’s members to give thanks—which every recipient verbally returns.

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  • “Compared to my Ohio life, people are more positive here, more responsive to literary things.”

  • “We break down all the barriers that led them to become homeless, so they can become self-sufficient and sustain on their own.”

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