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‘It’s an extraordinary meal:’ Rescue Mission Easter feast feeds hundreds of locals

Updated April 1, 2024 - 7:12 pm

A live piano player serenaded the bustling dining room at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission early Friday evening as locals ate warm chicken cutlets with mushroom gravy, soup and salad.

A variation of the scene has played out daily for a half-century at the central Las Vegas shelter, but Friday’s “community meal” commemorated the upcoming Easter holiday.

“It’s a special meal for us,” said Heather Williams, the nonprofit’s director of development.

Typically, the daily meal is broken up in two groups: the public in need and shelter residents.

Friday’s meal — like ones the nonprofits serves during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — combines everyone in a family-like atmosphere with extended hours, Williams said.

Staff prepared about 700 meals hoping to feed at least 600 people Friday, Williams said. “They get to come in and get seconds.”

Maria Luisa Reyes Montes, a resident at another shelter who eats at the Rescue Mission regularly, was one of the happy customers.

“It’s delicious,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Spanish. “It’s excellent, and I love it,” she added.

Reyes Montes said that for a nonprofit to accomplish its mission to feed those in need, it has to offer healthy and nutritious food.

The Rescue Mission checks all of those boxes for her, she said.

“It’s a kitchen that has guaranteed attention for needy people like me,” said Reyes Montes, noting that she prefers the fruits and vegetables she has eaten at there.

Also on Friday’s menu: red mashed potatoes, buttered bread rolls cookies and soda.

Adrien Parry has been eating at the Rescue Mission for six weeks.

“It’s an extraordinary meal, excellent,” he said.

He said he has struggled to navigate through the other social services offered by the nonprofit, but complimented Friday’s atmosphere and food.

“The availability of food is plentiful,” he said. “There’s food everywhere.”

The current iteration of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission has operated since 1970. The shelter space has about 300 beds available to men, women and family members and participants in their recovery programs.

“The gate is open to anyone who’s in the street who wants come in,” Williams said about the daily meals.

Those interested in helping can sign up at vegasrescue.org/volunteer, said Williams, adding that the shelter accepts donations, but especially bottled water and hygienic products.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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