I pulled into the parking lot of the library on a sweltering August afternoon, enjoying my last few moments of air conditioning before opening my car door. As I walked across the asphalt, I noted a group of people gathered near the Three Square truck. They anxiously watched our drivers unload the day's offering – five-pound bags of hash browns, apples, pears, cases of water, and as a special treat, Oreos. Cookies and other sweets are rarely offered.
Before coming to Three Square, I had not put much thought into the process of getting food to those in need. I never thought of the challenges of reaching those who are food insecure. I also never considered the restraints of transportation on those who might need assistance. Since joining the team, I have been amazed at the thought and effort put into developing programs to not only reach our hungry neighbors, but to provide assistance in a dignified manner.
The produce giveaway was a brainchild of Three Square's innovative thinking. Three Square trucks are deployed to regularly scheduled locations throughout Las Vegas, loaded with produce and whatever else is available for distribution. The weekly giveaway is free to anyone who needs food. We ask that people bring their own bags and only take what is needed to avoid food waste.
Although, the demand is high and giveaway sites tend to fill up with people quickly, the Three Square staff has a streamlined approach to organizing the recipients, allowing first priority to those who call ahead. Eager to help, I was given my assignment to pass out hash browns. I was excited to play my role in helping, even with the sun and sweat dripping down my back. I knew that some of the recipients had been waiting for hours in the heat, despite the ability to call ahead. They wanted to make sure they did not miss out. I was happy to endure a minor inconvenience to ensure no one left empty handed.
I enjoyed greeting everyone as they graciously took their turn picking up their food. I shared some cooking tips and I received some in return. I heard a few good jokes and saw lots of smiles. In just a 45 minute window, we were able to provide food to a very diverse cross section of our Las Vegas community. I am grateful I had a chance to be part of the process. Hunger is an issue that impacts so many and only together can we feed everyone.
If you are interested in volunteering at a Produce Giveaway, please reach out to the Three Square Center at 702-765-4030 for more information.