A food distribution event for Las Vegas families in need prompted a mile-plus-long caravan of motorists to form on a busy roadway early Thursday, with demand far exceeding supply.
The line of cars stretched from the intersection of Jones Boulevard and West Cheyenne Avenue to as far north as one could see. The drivers were waiting in line to get free food boxes from Three Square food bank and Wells Fargo bank at 6110 W. Cheyenne Ave.
The event started at 7 a.m. and was expected to continue until 10 a.m., but it ended shortly after 8 a.m. when volunteers had given out every food box they had.
“Based on our experience with other distributions, we anticipated about 300 families coming through,” said Kate Gaines, director of development with Three Square. “We brought enough food for about 400, and we happened to have over 400 cars show up today.”
Gaines said that was the goal — to give away all the food.
“We know next time we will be back with more food,” she said.
Motorists in line repeatedly declined to be interviewed.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our community,” said Fanny Fernandez, a district manager for Wells Fargo. “We know there is food insecurity right now. Any kind of positive impact we can make through partnering and being able to use our buildings to distribute food is something we want to be a part of.”
Volunteers said handing out the food boxes containing peanut butter, pasta, sauce, fruits and vegetables was a rewarding experience.
“Give back to the community, serve God, do good,” volunteer Raegina Cauich said.
Volunteer Ariana Conn said the motorists in line were “really grateful.”
“I think this will help provide hope and encouragement and positivity, helping feed people even when we are in a pandemic and crisis,” Conn said.
Gaines said those in need can track distribution events on Three Square’s website, www.threesquare.org, and the nonprofit’s social media pages. The new food distribution program, called the Wells Fargo Drive-Up Food Bank, is expected to take place for eight consecutive Thursdays at the Wells Fargo branch on Cheyenne from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“Since the pandemic has hit our community there has been a surge in an increase of need for food assistance,” Gaines said. “Prior to the pandemic one out of eight people were food insecure. And, unfortunately today, one out of five individuals is facing food insecurity, so a distribution like this is going to help alleviate a little bit of that challenge of where to find groceries for their family.”