Las Vegas charities put together Thanksgiving meals for 1000’s

Do you think you’ll be busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving? Try preparing a Thanksgiving Day for more than 1,000.

That’s what staff and volunteers at Catholic charities in southern Nevada will be doing on Thursday as they prepare to serve the agency’s 52nd annual Thanksgiving community dinner.

The organization’s kitchen crew will arrive at 2 a.m. to begin cooking and the free meal will be served from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the dining room on the organization’s campus, 1501 N. Las Vegas Blvd.

The Las Vegas Rescue Mission, 480 W. Bonanza Road, also serves a traditional Thanksgiving feast. The turkey and fixings meal is served on Wednesdays from 3pm to 6pm.

Agencies representatives expect 1,000 to 1,200 Thanksgiving guests each. Many will be homeless, but Deacon Tom Roberts, president and CEO of Southern Nevada’s Catholic Charities, says customers include financially vulnerable men, women and families.

“These are people I would call the working poor who just run out of money by the end of the month and who use that meal to get by, like they do with our pantry” and other services.

Bob David, donor relations manager for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, said the agency served just over 1,100 Thanksgiving meals last year, “and our numbers are never going down.”

He also notes that the organization serves a wide variety of customers. The idea that customers are all homeless men is imprecise, says David. “We had babies in our shelter last night. It’s babies to seniors, people well into their 80s, and everything in between. “

The Las Vegas Rescue Mission has been serving Thanksgiving meals since 1970, David said, and will also be giving 2,500 turkeys this weekend to people who are unsure about food.

Both agencies rely largely on donations and volunteers to accomplish their mission. But both Roberts and David note that the need for both continues after Thanksgiving.

“We take volunteers every day,” says Roberts. “So it’s a beautiful manifestation of the gift of service. It’s not just about Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s all days. “

Contact John Przybys at or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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