LAS VEGAS - During the holidays, it’s easy to focus on family, on gifts and time together, but many in the valley are focusing on much more basic needs.
“Some kids are fighting over iPads, and the best phones in schools and then their counterparts are sitting there right next to them, and their stomachs are growling,” said Nevada State Senator Kelvin Atkinson.
That’s why more than 200 volunteer elves in their red and green Santa hats to put together more than 35,000 meals for the hungry on Saturday.
"The blessing of having a full tummy and knowing where your next meal is coming from. It's just difficult to see that a lot of families don't know that on a daily basis,” said David Adkins, Executive Director/CEO, the Council of State Governments.
Politicians and community leaders from across the country united in Las Vegas for the Council of State Government Conference.
Live holiday music by area high school students played as volunteers assembled meals for those in need.
“Most kids like mac ‘n cheese, in this case, it's fortified with extra protein. It's easy to make, and it's pretty filling and nutritious,” Adkins said.
One out of every five people in Southern Nevada struggles with hunger, according to the organization.
"Food insecurity, hunger, is a major problem in this country, every state across the nation and it shouldn't be. We like to do what we can and help the local food banks and give back," said Tennessee State Senator Mark Norris.
It's about looking out for neighbors, which is something Atkinson said has only gotten stronger amongst locals after 1 October.
"We not only build beautiful buildings, but we build beautiful people and I think that since that day, everyone is seeing that Nevada is strong and a huge community that cares and I couldn't be more proud of our community," Atkinson said.
The meals will go to area food banks where they'll be distributed to those in need.
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