Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotary’s 10 clubs in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas have partnered with Delivering with Dignity to mobilize both dollars and volunteers for Rotary Food Heroes Day on Tuesday, Sept. 15 when they will deliver nearly 1,300 fully prepared meals to needy, homebound neighbors.
Having received an $8,000 grant from Rotary International, the clubs collaborated to identify nonprofit partners that are addressing the critical food needs in Las Vegas created by the pandemic’s unprecedented impact.
“A requirement of the grant was to not only fund meals, but also actively volunteer,” explained Glenn Ritt, an assistant governor for Rotary District 5300, which encompasses more than 60 clubs in Nevada and California. “Our search led us to Delivering with Dignity.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, 64 Rotary volunteers will arrive at four restaurants across the valley to receive the prepared meals and deliver them safely to residents who face a “triple threat:” at high-risk for COVID-19, are not served by any other organization or support system for provision of food to their homes, and financially unable to meet their food needs without leaving their home.
“There are so many critically important organizations providing food support, many of which our Rotary clubs continuously support with money and volunteer time. What immediately attracted us to Delivering with Dignity was the opportunity to reach out directly to our neighbors in every community where we have a club – from north to south, east to west,” said Jaqueline Thornhill, also an assistant governor. “We were so impressed how rapidly and effectively Delivering with Dignity has emerged since the pandemic began to make such a difference.”
“We are very appreciative of the Rotary’s generosity,” said Punam Mathur, co-founder of Delivering with Dignity. “Not only are they funding the preparation of healthy meals that will benefit so many in need, but they are giving their time to serve as Food Heroes, who are truly the heart and soul of the program. Delivering with Dignity is founded on our community coming together to feed those in need, and we welcome the Rotary clubs support in this effort.”
Since Delivering with Dignity’s inception on March 23, more than 3,000 volunteer Food Heroes have delivered more than 158,000 meals. By recruiting restaurants as partners, Delivering with Dignity has also helped save more than 55 jobs, especially during the early stages of the pandemic when restaurants were not yet able to serve customers beyond takeout.
In addition to the grant and volunteers, many of the Rotary clubs also have prepared personalized cards to accompany the meals that will be left safely at recipients’ doorsteps.
“Many of our club members who wished to get involved are not able to deliver meals, so this is a way for them to be involved,” said Ritt. “It’s a modest but very meaningful way for all of us to touch those in need and let them know there are hundreds of neighbors who care and think about them.”
Globally, there are more than 35,000 Rotary clubs with 1.2 million members spanning every continent. While each club has an individual personality, they all share seven overarching goals under the umbrella of serving above self: promoting peace, protecting the environment, fighting disease, growing local economies, providing clean water and hygiene, supporting education, and saving mothers and children. Local members range in age from the early 20’s to 90. Rotary has dedicated decades to eradicating polio worldwide, raising hundreds of millions of dollars to immunize 2.5 billion children in 122 countries, reducing cases by 99.9 percent so that today only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – record cases.
Delivering with Dignity was co-founded by renowned restaurateur Elizabeth Blau; Punam Mathur, executive director of the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation; and Julie Murray, chair of the Moonridge Foundation, in partnership with Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and United Way of Southern Nevada. Currently, Delivering with Dignity provides meals from multiple restaurant partners in Las Vegas including Honey Salt, Graffiti Bao, Valencian Gold, The Jolt Coffee Co., and Zappos for Good.