33,882. Thirty three THOUSAND eight hundred and eighty two.
I would like for you to ruminate on that number for a moment. It feels large right? Or it could feel mediocre depending on the context. I’ll get to what it means in a moment. For now I’d like to share a story with you.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV, this is my home city. The place where I can go and share a memory about every part of it because I’ve lived all over it and explored it’s nooks and crannies (off of the famous Strip). It’s the place that houses my friends, family, and memories galore. It’s the place I know I can always go back too and feel okay – for the most part. Don’t get me wrong it’s also the place that creates a hole in my heart because of all that happens there.
When I go back each year I see the explosive growth that continues, I’ve watched the city explode since the 80’s. With that growth I’ve also seen the dark side of this place. I’ve watched it suck the life out of people, and seen those people fall to the way side and become a number. I’ve seen them become part of the 33,882. This is how many people experience homelessness in Las Vegas every.single.year.
In 2013 my husband and I went to visit our friends and family and we decided to help an organization, Gobble Gobble Give Las Vegas, feed these people on Thanksgiving Day. We gave 4 hours of our time to let these people know they are seen and cared for, even when it feels like they aren’t. I was so moved by the out pouring of help, the gratitude on the faces of the receivers, the stories that people shared, it was a life changing experience for me. We went back at Christmas time and on Christmas morning delivered blankets, toiletries, water, socks, and snack bags. We didn’t have as much we would’ve liked, but we just enough to help those we could. This year we’re doing it again.
I’m inviting each of you to do something bigger than yourselves, find something to give to another in need. It could be as simple as your time, your ear, your shoulder to lean on, or an old coat or blanket. Remember that no matter where you are unfortunately there is always someone in need, and if it was you wouldn’t you want to know someone cared?