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The program is made possible by ...
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The program is made possible by a one-year, renewable $49,829 grant from the Nevada Department of Aging and Disability Services Division, said Derrick Felder, marketing and development director of Lutheran Social Services of Nevada, 73 Spectrum Blvd.
"This is the only one (senior food program) in Las Vegas funded by the state," Felder
"With programs like this, it's a very slow start, but the numbers are picking up from three to five people in a week to mid- to upper 20s (a day) as word gets out," he
came to me and said, 'I've got an idea for you - how about hosting the senior meal program?', I'm like, 'Thank you, God.' This is an answered prayer because I'm thinking, 'What do we do with this kitchen?' "
As the program grows, LSSN hopes to expand hours and open a second location, Felder
"We hope that seniors will come here and have a good time and want to come back the next day and bring their friends," he
"We're a faith-based nonprofit, and we ...
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"We're a faith-based nonprofit, and we offer a lot of different services," said Derrick Felder, special projects manager for Lutheran Social Services of Nevada.
"Our mission is to express the love of Christ by serving and caring for people."
The largest part of fulfilling that mission is operating a food bank out of the charity's offices.
said the organization helps more than 16,000 unduplicated clients each year by distributing more than 350,000 pounds of food.
Rather than hand out packages of random food to clients, the charity's food bank is arranged as a store, and clients are allowed, within a set of guidelines, to pick what they want.
Clients are allowed a certain amount of food per person in their household, but that number is deceptive as some items, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, don't count toward that weight.
"That's the biggest part of what we do here, but we're going to expand that with education," Felder
"Were converting one of our offices into a teaching kitchen, so we can show people not just what foods to get to stretch out their dietary budget but how to cook meals that will feed them for days."
The charity has carefully chosen a basic low-income design for the kitchen that will be comparable in scale and equipment to what its clients have where they live.
"We're not going to include a Cuisinart or things like that," Felder
"Basically, it's a farmers market that is completely free to anyone who qualifies, and that's most people in the areas we go to," Felder
"We find that the holiday time is also a time of greater need," Felder
"There is also a great need in the summer when all of the kids are out of school and home."
The food bank is the group's largest outreach effort, but it is not only one.
"We're trying to be a holistic agency," Felder
said "For instance, if someone comes in for food but doesn't have an ID, we can help them get their birth certificate or other ID.
The fees are usually paid through agency funds."
Lutheran Social Services of Nevada
helps clients with those issues on Tuesdays.
said clients' needs are rarely simple.
Someone who doesn't have the means to obtain food often has other challenges, such as housing or employment issues.
"We have a computer lab center that's available to our clients any time we're open, without appointment, so they can come in and look for jobs or send out resumes," Felder
"Sometimes, a client will come in and tell us they've just gotten their five-day notice (of eviction), and we check to see if they qualify for our temporary assistance program to help cover rent or utilities."
Despite the charity's name, several denominations contribute to it in one way or another.
"We receive assistance from several congregations, including Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Catholics," Felder said.
"They provide financial contributions, volunteers, food drives and sometimes all three."
Another source of income is Angels of Care, a for-profit home care system.
"It's a business within our nonprofit," Felder
"It's a fee service, and all of the money it brings in goes to fund our charitable work.
We help seniors in need with things like companionship and light housekeeping."
said many of Angels of Care's clients are the children of the seniors who are looking for a trustworthy and reasonably priced way to look after their parents when they are otherwise occupied.
"We have a six-member team, and generally they help seniors do things they might not be able to do themselves anymore," Felder
Derrick Felder, Emergency ...
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Derrick Felder, Emergency Services/Supportive Housing Manager
Goodwill of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas
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Derrick Felder, Assistant Director of Operations