LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Consumer Electronics Show finished up earlier than initially planned, and organizers were left with a lot of uneaten boxed lunches and extra COVID-19 tests. Instead of throwing them away, they gave it away to help the Las Vegas community.
The food donations could not have come at a better time for the Salvation Army.
"This past week, we had three people from the kitchen that were out because of COVID," said Juan Salinas, director of social services for the Salvation Army of Southern Nevada. "When that donation came over and they reached out to us with about 600 meals, it was very helpful because we were able to serve it right to the community."
Because of coronavirus concerns, the biggest tech event in the world decided to close up shop a day early. This left a lot of food and unused COVID-19 tests.
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The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says almost 1,000 boxed lunches and hundreds of drinks were donated to local agencies that support the food insecurity community.
The Salvation Army of Southern Nevada serves about 300 to 500 meals for lunch every day. Before the pandemic those numbers were closer to 700.
"We could use it. It goes to a good cause," Salinas said. "People know already where to go to get that assistance; they come here every day. We serve 365 days from 1:30 to 2:30."
On the other side of town, Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Henderson's Wednesday food pantry was underway.
"It’s not at all unusual for someone here to burst out in tears because they weren’t really sure where their next meal would come from," said Pastor Ed Burning.
The food pantry, which was open all through the pandemic, gives away about 5 million pounds of food a year between their Monday, Wednesday, and Friday food drives, their Wednesday night family program and their second Saturday of the month senior day. They say the donations from CES and other generous groups and people are always needed.
"There are a lot of feeding stations and food pantries that have been closed during the pandemic. Still, some — more than we’d like —remain closed. So that gets routed to us," Burning said.
CES also donated all of the unused COVID-19 testing kits from the convention to the Southern Nevada Health District.