Plastic Food Drive collecting gift cards to help homeless teens

There are more than 15,000 documented homeless teens in Southern Nevada and possibly many more. It’s hard to get a good estimate of how many there are in the Las Vegas Valley because, unlike the majority of the adult homeless population, most homeless teens expend a lot of energy in keeping their homeless status hidden. The holidays can be particularly challenging, and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth is reaching out to the community to help feed the teens with plastic: food gift cards.

The nonprofit charity hopes its annual Plastic Food Drive will provide the more than 11,000 Clark County homeless youths with a hot meal for the holidays. To meet that goal, the partnership is asking the public to purchase and donate $5 or $10 fast-food restaurant gift cards or $25 or $50 grocery store gift cards.

“The holidays can be especially unsettling and scary for homeless youth,” said Arash Ghafoori, executive director of the nonprofit. “They aren’t able to be in the traditional family setting, compounded by the fact they’re always wondering when they’ll eat their next meal. Without access to stable shelter, a stove or microwave, donation of fast-food restaurant and grocery store gift cards is the easiest way to ensure these kids receive a hot meal.”

He added that a $5 fast-food restaurant gift card equates to one meal for a homeless teen, and a $25 grocery store gift card provides meals for several days.

The partnership provides its clients at its William Fry Drop-In Center with outreach programs, emergency shelter, food, toiletries and other necessities. The center provides a lifeline for teens, many of whom have been let down by the adults in their lives. The goal is stabilization and integration back into a life that is more secure and stable. Many of the clients complete their high school education and move on to college or employment.

At an event on Oct. 29, 13 of the nonprofit’s clients were honored at the partnership’s fourth annual Graduation Dinner at its offices and drop-in center, 4981 Shirley St. The event celebrated their graduations from high school, GED completions and technical programs and/or the partnership’s Independent Living Program or other programs.

“I’m not sure what I would have done without their help,” said 18-year-old Tyric Collins. “The people here — the staff and the other kids — have been my support, and they’ve really been there when I needed them.”

Collins, who graduated from the nonprofit’s Independent Living Program, is working two jobs and now lives in an apartment. Other graduates have earned diplomas at their high schools, gained employment, received driver’s licenses, enlisted in military service and in general moved forward to responsibility and adulthood with the help of the partnership.

This year, the Plastic Food Drive, co-hosted by the nonprofit and UNLV, is set to culminate with a tailgate party before the UNLV-San Diego State football game from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Sam Boyd Stadium, 7000 E. Russell Road. Entry is free, but donations are required for refreshments and the raffle. Those who bring fast-food restaurant or grocery store gift cards or other donations will be eligible to win food, game tickets or other prizes.

Prior to the tailgate party, gift cards and/or other cash donations can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the drop-in center, 4981 Shirley St., or at any business in the Village Square Shopping Center, 9400 W. Sahara Ave., during its normal operating hours. Donations can be made online at, and businesses are encouraged to implement an employee or customer plastic food drive by contacting the nonprofit.

“With the growing number of homeless youth in Southern Nevada, the community’s support for the Plastic Food Drive is more important than ever,” Ghafoori said. “This initiative does make a powerful difference, and we are so appreciative of everyone’s help in feeding these vulnerable kids for the holidays.” Visit or call 702-383-1332.

— To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email or call 702-380-4532.

North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like