Struggles often pave the road to success.
NV Energy executive Tony Sanchez knows this, and sympathizes with children who don’t get enough to eat.
“I was born and raised here in Las Vegas and I got free lunch as well, and I can remember how important it was,” said Sanchez, senior vice president of government and community strategy.
Today marks the sixth Martin Luther King Jr. Day that NV Energy employees will spend assembling meals for the BackPack for Kids program at Three Square food bank.
Since 1994, when Congress designated the holiday an opportunity for volunteerism, Americans have participated in MLK Day of Service to honor the reverend and nonviolent civil rights activist who said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”
The MLK Day of Service is part of United We Serve, President Barack Obama’s call on Americans to “participate in our nation’s recovery and renewal by serving in our communities.”
“We call it a day on instead of a day off,” Sanchez said of NV Energy’s participation.
Three Square’s BackPack for Kids program assists more than 5,000 children in 275 schools each week, sending them home with food for the weekend.
Fifty-seven percent of students in the Clark County School District receive free or reduced-price lunches and, without the program, they likely would go hungry until school resumes.
Each bag contains nine items, including milk, fruit cups, cereal bars, crackers, pudding, cereal, juice and two entrees.
Sanchez said the day of service was created by employees who wanted to give back. More than 75 NV Energy workers typically volunteer, along with family members, for a 9 a.m. to noon shift.
This year, the 2,500-employee utility aims to spend 42,000 hours on community service. The initial goal, set years ago, was 30,000 hours and the company hit 40,000 last year.
“You name it,” Sanchez said. “We’ve worked with every nonprofit in the state.”
Contact reporter Kristy Totten at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3809. Follow @kristy_tea on Twitter.