Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It is Restaurant Week and some of the best restaurants from across the valley are serving prix fixe meals with a portion of the proceeds going to Three Square to help fight hungry people in our community.
But it may not be the people you'd expect. Hunger is hitting the middle class too.
They line up every Monday at 6 in the morning. But the Variety Early Learning Center doesn't even pass out food boxes until noon. Some of them homeless. Others down on their luck. But in line today is a 3-year-old girl named Aiyana waiting with her mommy.
Leslie Cooper works at a major resort here in Las Vegas and has a decent job. Her husband volunteers to box up and pass out food, knowing one of these boxes will go to their family of five. "It really helps us out a lot. a lot."
The Cooper family is not alone. According to Three Square's website, a large number of working adults qualify for federal food help, known as the SNAP program. Brian Burton is Three Square's President and CEO. "It's really horrific because they have no idea where to go to get resources. They never imagined they'd be in these circumstances. The face of hunger in Southern Nevada looks like you and me. It's not what you'd expect."
The Coopers qualified for SNAP food benefits too until last month when Leslie got a cost of living raise of 60 cents an hour. It should have been reason to celebrate but it pushed her income too high and she lost those benefits -- $125 a month. Enough to help feed her family.
"I definitely think there are other people out there who are like me who are struggling and are afraid to let that wall down and ask for help."
Back at the Variety Early Learning Center, Director Toyya Glass says the need is great. "We feed at least 80 people every single Monday and we struggle to meet the need. We do the best we can and usually we can handle about 100 but it depends on what type of food we are getting from Three Square."
The Coopers say every little bit helps. With three growing children, a box of food can last a week -- long enough to get the family to the next payday.
If you want to help, eat out this week! For a list of participating restaurants, click here