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Three Square handles 40 tons of turkey right before Thanksgiving

Three Square in North Las Vegas is gearing up to help feed thousands of hungry residents this Thanksgiving with tons of turkey — approximately 40 tons.

The turkeys fit into two large trucks and come in time for Thanksgiving, said Maurice Johnson, the director of operations for the food bank. The turkeys, donated by MGM Grand, will be distributed to dozens of Three Square’s agency partners. There, organizers will choose how the turkey is distributed.

“It is so fantastic that we can donate such a large number of turkeys to families in need at a moment when we, who have a lot, feel grateful, but we’re also grateful that we can contribute so that others can have a really healthy and happy meal,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, vice president of corporate sustainability.

It was the first time an entity donated turkeys on that scale, Johnson said. Each turkey weighs about 14 pounds.

Typically, Three Square buys food in bulk, providing meals for “pennies on the dollar,” he said.

Some of that food is divided into meals and placed into smaller boxes and bags at the North Las Vegas campus. Then it is delivered to around 180 partners that operate food shelves and kitchens and help distribute food to those in need across the Las Vegas Valley.

Chocolate milk, small cans of spaghetti and fruit, for example, are packaged by volunteers for the Backpack for Kids program. It helps feed students — who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals — two meals through the weekend.

“It’s a delicate dance that we have to do to support agency partners and people in need,” Johnson said.

It’s not just businesses stepping up to feed those in need close to Thanksgiving.

Inside Three Square, it’s busier than usual.

Normally, staffers at Three Square expect they will have about 125 volunteers every day helping to pack food. Now some days they are seeing more than 200 volunteers coming through their doors.

“We get 200-plus volunteers on some occasions because people want to support and give back during the holiday season,” Johnson said. “We’ve never had too many.”

“During this time of year, we always see an uptick in volunteers,” he added. “There’s always something to do.”

Contact Alex Chhith at achhith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0290. Follow @alexchhith on Twitter.

How to help

  • Donations of nonperishable items such as dry and canned foods are sought at Three Square, 4190 N. Pecos Road.
  • Holiday Match Challenge: Monetary donations will be matched at Three Square through December 31.
  • For more volunteer information: www.threesquare.org.

By the numbers

  • 40: Approximate number of tons of turkey donated to Three Square
  • 14: Approximate weight, in pounds, of each turkey
  • 125: Number of volunteers typically at Three Square. With the holiday season, there have been more than 200 some days.
  • Three to four: Number of meals provided for every dollar donated
  • 1 in 8: Number of people who are food-insecure in the Las Vegas area every day, according to Three Square.
  • 1 in 5: The approximate number of children who live in food-insecure households, according to Three Square.

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