Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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LV food bank grateful for holiday donations

The Community Food Bank of Las Vegas does not apologize for the seemingly overgenerous donations it receives during the holiday season.

"We think it's OK that all of these people and organizations feel the need to help at this time of year," said Bessie Braggs, executive director of the facility at 3505 E. Charleston Blvd.

"But people also have to eat in April and May, and the amount of food we get now helps make that possible. We run out of money by August or September, so these food drives are essential."

On Wednesday, employees of Binion's Horseshoe presented 5,000 pounds of canned goods they collected since Nov. 1 during a ceremony at the downtown resort. It was the second straight year they had collected such a large amount of food.

Last week, Caesars Palace employees gave the food bank 5,000 pounds of canned goods. Also in recent months, J.C. Penney employees collected 5,000 pounds. And over the last four years the UNLV Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity has collected 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of canned food each year.

Through Friday, a disc jockey for KLUC 98.5-FM will be in the Sahara Pavilion shopping center at Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard trying to collect 32,000 pounds of canned goods to equal the amount donated to the agency recently by rival radio station KEDG 103.5-FM.

The food will be sorted by food bank workers, who will give a good amount of it to more than 85 Southern Nevada charities for use in 55-pound (five-day supply) food boxes for the poor.

"We have anywhere from 85,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds of food come in and go out of here in a month," Braggs said. "Many of the organizations are churches, day-care centers, drug treatment facilities, senior and youth programs."

The charitable organizations pay about 12 cents a pound -- roughly $5 a box -- as a fee to the food bank to help it defray maintenance costs.

And most of the donations are not strange or oddball foods people don't like.

"It's good food -- green beans, corn -- things like that," Braggs said.

While cans are preferred by food banks because of their long shelf life, the organization takes care to make sure the donated goods are not swollen, dented or past expiration when they go out in food boxes.

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