We are Las Vegas. We are #VegasStrong.
If Mr. Rogers was in Mountain’s Edge over the past few days he would not have had to look hard to find the helpers.
What started as a very small donations project between two old friends, designed to net two pickup trucks full of food, water and blankets, quickly turned to a massive community effort.
A call for donations went out on two or three closed neighborhood Facebook sites. It was shared and shared and shared again until it was being talked about on two local radio stations. At one point, CNN called the fire station and KSL news showed up. Neither of the originators thought it would get as big as fast as it did.
They quickly realized that the parking lot, sidewalk effort was no longer sufficient. Fire Station 66 (one of the originators is a fireman there) graciously allowed the now “group of volunteers” to start putting supplies in a large open room.
Around that same time, realization hit that the parking lot drop off situation was not sufficient. The fire captain authorized the use of the Bay. They moved the fire truck out front and had people driving through the fire station to drop off donations.
Scores of cars and trucks lined Mountain’s Edge Parkway waiting for their turn to donate. Donation were not just of items, but donations of time. Hands on, ‘what can I do?’, spend hours helping kind of donations.
If it were possible to name all of the individuals who helped we would name them here. That is a task that when thought about, seems too daunting to tackle. I think everyone involved would be happy to say that the Mountain’s Edge community as a whole volunteered. Our SW Vegas community with it’s diversity and character came together as ONE to help and heal.
A group of local women from the LDS faith planned to put together hygiene kits at the church building next to the fire station. The station organizers added travel toiletries to the list of donations needed. As they were dropped off at the fire station, volunteers walked them next door where the sorting and assembling was taking place and engaged in helping to assemble the kits. It became a seamless combined project. Over 1,000 kits were assembled and distributed.
The entire first day of the project took 8 hours. 8 hours. That’s less time than a full day at work. That’s less time than bingeing a full season of something on Netflix. At the end of that time supplies had been gathered, sorted, bagged, boxed, packed, labeled, loaded and delivered.
There was even time left to take a silly staged picture.
58 FULL pickup trucks drove out that day (for clarity…a few were the next morning) delivering water, food, energy drinks, blankets, pillows and hygiene kits to our wounded city of Las Vegas. They were donated to the hospitals (UMC, Spring Valley, Sunrise and Valley) for the victims and their families and to metro for the tireless responders who were working so diligently to bring us answers and safety. They were donated to the Convention Center where people were staying and needed some additional comfort from a new pillow and blanket. Salvation Army came to us and picked up boxes and boxes of food. Fresh food ready to be made into meals for those in need.
Sunday night was a tragedy of epic proportion. Everyone had a connection to it. We are all wounded and in need of healing. This project gave us something to do in an otherwise helpless situation. It was a needed distraction from the sadness of the day.
The organizers and the men and women of Fire Station 66 want to thank each one of your for your love, hope, charity and kindness. The healing has begun, our strength is renewed.