Charities preparing for surge in need for services this summer - 8 News NOW

Charities preparing for surge in need for services this summer

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LAS VEGAS -- Homeless levels in Las Vegas are the highest they've been in three years, and our youngest are living in poverty at alarming levels.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 44,000 children in Las Vegas are living in poverty that is 29 percent of all kids who live here.

Charities are expecting an increased demand this summer.

The nonprofit Southern Nevada Children First provides much needed services to homeless, pregnant and parenting youth.

"I was basically couch surfing. I was living in and out of different people's homes and getting kicked out, for this reason, that reason," client Jessica Barkum said.

Barkum came to Southern Nevada Children First at the beginning of the year, with her 2-year-old daughter, Mya.

"When I came here, they helped me with everything. They helped me with day care, they helped me with a place to stay. If I didn't have food, they helped with food, clothes, interview clothes," Barkum said.

Monique Harris founded Southern Nevada Children First seven years ago.

"The need has definitely increased every year since we opened our doors" Harris said. "The drop-in center gets busy during the summer time. I don't know whether it's because they're trying to get out of the heat, or if there's not as many things to do, or if they come here because this is considered a safe haven."

Summer is also a busy time for Three Square Food Bank, because 58 percent of CCSD students are on the free or reduced lunch program during the school year.

"Some children are actually eating all three of their major meals during the day at the school," Jodi Tyson with Three Square Food Banks said.

Three Square says the Summer Food Service Program will serve meals at about 70 sites this summer to kids who would otherwise go hungry. Volunteers are gearing up for a summer surge in demand.

Both Southern Nevada Children First and Three Square say they welcome donations from those who can give.

Families wanting to sign up for a free summer meal can call 1-866-3-HUNGRY.

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