FOUNDER’S DAY OF CARING: 8 News Now to collect food, bottled water, clothes for community on June 17

Founder's Day

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — 8 News Now is inviting the community to take part in a very special day!

Thursday, June 17 will mark the 25th anniversary of Nexstar Media Group’s “Founder’s Day,” a day set aside each year for local news stations to focus on giving back.

You can drop off donations of canned/non-perishable food, bottled water and clothes at our station from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The address is 3228 Channel 8 Drive.

Your donations will be collected by 8 News Now anchors and staff in a socially-distanced manner. You can also donate directly to Three Square Food Bank or The Salvation Army using the two different QR codes listed below.

These donations will benefit Three Square Food Bank and the Salvation Army, who will distribute them throughout the community.

The Salvation Army

We are teaming up with The Salvation Army this year and here is a look at how they are changing lives:

Life has not always been easy for Jeremy Wood.

Eight years later I still see and feed the same people that I was homeless with and I was out on the street with,” said executive chef Jeremy Wood. “When you are out there every day it’s a struggle. It’s never easy. Everything is a struggle and always a wait in line. Things build up on you.”

Thanks to the services offered at The Salvation Army of Southern Nevada, Wood is one of thousands that have been able to turn their life around.

But the pandemic made the need within the community much greater.

“The need was astronomical,” said county coordinator Anthony Barnes. “We were seeing people that at one point they were donors who were now finding themselves in a position of difficulty, but we reminded those folks that we are here for you, too.”

Today, the organization is thriving and working harder than before, holding a water drive for the summer and even keeping children in mind.

“We have an annual back-to-school drive, and it’s a great thing because our kids they have enough going on and we know that struggles happen for families and what we don’t want them to know is how are they going to get access to paper or pencils or backpacks. We will help them with that,” Barnes said.

This year 8 News Now is helping them out during the annual “Founder’s Day of Caring.”

“We can’t exist without partnerships,” Barnes said. “We come with a few ideas and a some resources but really we rely on the community, and we come together with all of our community partners and we do things like serve food and provide water. As it is said, we are better together.”

That is a goal this professional chef will never forget.

“Every single day. That is one of the things that drives me,” Wood said. “I feel so blessed to be able to come into work. If I can just enrich someone else’s life, what better way to enrich my own life than to do that for others.

Three Square Food Bank

We caught up with Three Square’s COO, to take a closer look at the need this past year and moving forward:

It has been a year of quick adjustments according to Three Square Food Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Larry Scott.

“We’ve been tested and proven ourselves to be battle tough,” Scott said.

During a normal year, three square distributes 4.5 million pounds of food, a month.

During the pandemic, that number increased to 5.6 million pounds a month.

“The demand was extraordinary, for sure,” Scott said.

With unemployment at an all-time high in Southern Nevada due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, food insecurity soared to record levels, with more than 360,000 people needing assistance.

One in four children now live in a food-insecure home.

Add to that a variety of complications, like being able to distribute the food with social distancing and keeping people safe.

Fortunately, the warehouse shelves did not go bare with help from local and national donors who rose to the occasion and helped provide the food that was needed.

Federal programs allowed CCSD to distribute food at most of the schools throughout the year.

“I think everyone would look at this and say mission accomplished,” Scott said.

He credits our hospitality industry that drives so much of our economy.

While resorts and hotels were forced to shut their doors, they never turned their back on Three Square’s mission.

“They continued to send out their furloughed employees to help us, gave us access to their parking lots, emptied out freezers and pantries coolers to provide us food,” Scott said. “We are a unique community by many, many measures, but I can say that this big engine of hospitality that drives our economy is a really generous donor and something that we should be very proud of in Southern Nevada.”

The doors to Three Square opened up once again on May 27 to volunteers.

Pre-pandemic, Three Square had 200 volunteers a day. Right now, the number is less than half that.

The real heavy demand picks up again when school starts back up in less than two months.

“We have volunteers that donate money, time, food, during pandemic some sewed masks, some are driving and delivering food to seniors who are home bound,” Scott said. “We have a variety of different ways that people can help, at threesquare.org. There is a perfect map to lead you to where you can find your niche, to help in this effort.”

We hope you can help us give back!

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