ML - Vegas Magazine

2012 - Issue 7 - November

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 53 of 127

SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY Sarah and Mike Williams run the 2011 Turkey Day 5K in downtown Las Vegas. strip-style thanksgiving LESS FORTUNATE. BY KAREN ROSE, KATRINA CONCEPCION, AND JANE KELLOGG GIVING THANKS IN A TRANSIENT TOURIST TOWN INVOLVES HEAPS OF PHILANTHROPY AND VOLUNTEERS TAKING CARE OF THOSE F rom food drives to shelter animals in need of human attention, Las Vegas has a cornucopia of opportunities for giving around the holi- days. On Thanksgiving Day particularly, both locals and tourists have proven they'll do whatever it takes to make sure that no one in our town goes hungry. For this story, we talked to some of the people doing just that: out-of-towners running for Three Square; a dog lover who shares her Thanksgiving with furry friends at The Animal Foundation; and a downtown filmmaker doing more than his fair share to serve free quality meals on this foodiest of holidays. Join us in giving thanks to these selfless Las Vegans who put the "giving" in Thanksgiving. Showing Spirit Turkey Day 5K L as Vegas visitors outnumber residents at any one time by at least 60 to 1, and the number of tourists here last November topped three million. So what are civic-minded out-of-towners to do when they're on the Strip for Thanksgiving, a holiday based around home-cooked food? Run a 5K race for Three Square, of course. "A lot of the races we run involve charities," says Sarah Williams of Saint Louis. Sarah's the "health-conscious" one in the family; her hus- band, Mike, who serves on the community and philanthropy committee at his company back home, adds, "We try to do runs when we travel, to see the city from a different view." So it follows that the couple would take part in "turkey trots," Thanksgiving races that raise funds and collect food for local charities. When they were vacationing in Las Vegas during the past Thanksgiving, Mike and Sarah ran in the Turkey Day 5K, which took place downtown. Participants were requested to bring cans of food to registration, and they delivered: 757 pounds of canned goods were collected for Three Square. The only food bank and largest hunger-relief organization in Southern Nevada, Three Square works with its more than 600 program partners to provide meals to those in need. "Hunger is a year-round issue," says Erica Thompson, director of corporate giving for the organization, which 52 VEGASMAGAZINE.COM Turning out to help can also mean quality time with friends and family. feeds 100,000 people in Southern Nevada every month. "But around the holidays, people really step up and want to give back. Canned food drives are very popular this time of year." The group will provide between 3,000 and 4,000 turkeys to its 200 direct-service agency partners (such as food pantries and soup kitchens) this Thanksgiving; during the 2011 holiday season it ran 163 food drives, collecting 300,000 pounds of canned goods. As a bonus, turning up to help out can also mean quality time with friends and family. Race director Dominic Guinto says lots of groups and couples ran the race last year—some showing up at the starting line in full-on turkey costumes. The Williamses, who got into the spirit by running with colorful turkey headpieces, are active in philanthropy back home in St. Louis. "We vol- unteer to walk dogs or collect donations for disaster relief," Mike says. But the races were Sarah's idea. "It's a great way to give back, and to start the holiday," she says. "I'd like to do a race every Thanksgiving."—KR Sharing the Love The Animal Foundation N ot every animal has a home for the holidays, but for local furry friends waiting to be adopted, The Animal Foundation's Lied Animal Shelter is continued on page 54 PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH OLENICK

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