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Southwest View reader Marlene Drake shares her experiences volunteering with the homeless throughout the Las Vegas Valley.
Southwest-area resident Marlene Drake and Henry Wang, a Centennial Hills resident, pause a moment while serving food to the homeless at 911 G. St. View readers are encouraged to send in stories to be considered for Your Turn posts on the newspaper's Your Town blog. Send submission ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southwest-area resident Ron Drake helps in preparing food for the homeless. View readers are encouraged to send in stories to be considered for Your Turn posts on the newspaper's Your Town blog. Send submission ideas to email@example.com.
Las Vegas resident Ron Drake helps in giving food to the homeless. View readers are encouraged to send in stories to be considered for Your Turn posts on the newspaper's Your Town blog. Send submission ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping is a feel good medicine!
Photos and text by Marlene Drake
When you help those less fortunate, you are helping the Lord.
Las Vegas is known for many things, but one of them is not showcasing the people who take time out of their busy days to help those in need. My parents taught me that helping the less fortunate should come naturally, so I teach my children the same. If it isn’t helping at a soup kitchen, it should be helping in some way, but there are many advantages to all who help.
Who are the homeless? According to hud.gov, “Statistics indicate that 16 percent of homeless people in Southern Nevada are employed, 25 percent are veterans, 31 percent are disabled, 33 percent have lived here at least 10 years and 73 percent have at least a high school education.” We never know when we might fit into one of these categories and need a helping hand. A 14th annual homeless stand down was held, and it was a great opportunity, but was once a year enough? How about helping out once a week?
I was taught that when you help someone in need, you are helping God to do his job. Who could be a more wonderful boss than God? My family moved here from Illinois and has helped out in various ways, but it hurts my heart each time I drive past someone living on the streets. I called around to donate things and found a place on 911 G. Street. I was told to show up and ask for a guy name Henry. My family and I did that, and I will tell you that we felt the warmth and love from everyone there that day. I am talking true love and appreciation from the homeless to all the volunteers.
The connection and respect of the young people working together to set up and serve the food was breathtaking. My 4-year-old was so pleased with the job he did of passing out lemonade, and my 10-year-old, who usually can’t take a simple instruction, was doing a great job, and you could tell he felt wonderful about it. You could see the humbleness in everyone’s hearts and love for serving people not as fortunate. I knew the first day I helped that I would continue to do this every week.
The only pain I felt after such a wonderful occasion was the fact that when I reached out to all my friends and family, guess how many showed up? None! The next week, since I have such a love for baking, I wanted the children and I to bake together, which allowed us more time together. I extended to everyone on Facebook, if they could bake or come out to help. Guess how many responded? One, but I looked at that as a positive note. She is a grandmother raising her grandchildren and fighting to stay above water, and she took the time to bake some delicious cupcakes. Without me asking, Sarah calls to see if I need cupcakes on Thursday. I will not give up because I have learned that if you continue to follow the path of the Lord, others will slowly see it, and there is hope. God knows hope is needed in Las Vegas!
Henry has coordinated and taken over this event and does a wonderful job. He has a warm heart and needs more support from the people of Nevada. He is located on 911 G. Street. He does this every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. If you aren’t able to show up, you can always bake, and I will pick it up. If you can’t bake, you can donate other items -- clothes, shoes, etc.
I will tell you that the feeling you get from doing something and wanting nothing back is better than any amount of money, clothes, shoes, or the biggest house on the block. God bless you all.