LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada cooked up some Christmas cheer Monday morning, serving hundreds of holiday meals to people in need – a need that they say is growing in the Las Vegas community.

“Over 50 years, Catholic Charities has served a community meal every single day, but during the holidays, it takes on that much more special meaning, to give a little bit more to those who don’t receive anything on the holidays,” said Catholic Charities Chief Operating Officer Steve Schmitt.

Catholic Charities served almost 700 free meals this Christmas. It was a holiday feast complete with salmon, sweet potato casserole and fruit cake for people experiencing homelessness and others in need.

“We’ve prepared to serve almost 700 people today, so that’s 700 serving of salmon, of sweet potatoes, of vegetables, and dessert,” said Schmitt.

“It’s a big deal, actually because I really haven’t had anything to eat. It’s a struggle just trying to keep money in my pocket, just trying to keep bills up and stuff like that,” said Jaquary Fitts, who showed up to enjoy a Christmas meal.

“I was recently let go from my job at the end of this year,” he said. “I’m struggling trying to get back on my feet, trying to take care of my nieces and nephews.”

And Schmitt said it’s not just during the holidays that Catholic Charities has their plates full.

“We average 300 to 400 every single day,” Schmitt said, “but over the last few months, we’ve seen that number climb to 500 and 600 each and every single day. The thing that’s probably the most disconcerting about it is the number of families we’re starting to see that are living on the streets that don’t have anywhere to go.”

At the community Christmas meal, 50 volunteers prepared and served the food, while case managers sat down with people to offer resources and support.

“The food brings them in and gives them the sense of belonging and welcoming that so many of us look for during the holidays, and we try to get them off the street and get them into a better situation,” said Schmitt.


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