Nevada Guard helps distribute food at Palace Station Casino
Nevadans line up in their vehicles to receive food donations at the Palace Station Casino, Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eighteen members of the Nevada National Guard helped distribute food. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie) VIEW ORIGINAL

LAS VEGAS – It’s no surprise that Americans are in need since major cities throughout the nation began shutting down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has affected Nevadans especially hard with unemployment numbers hitting 22% as of May 8, according to a report from the state Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation.

The Nevada National Guard’s Task Force 221 joined forces with Three Square, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Highway Patrol, and Metro React volunteers to distribute food to local Las Vegans at the Palace Station Casino in their time of need.

Over 18 Soldiers pitched in to assist with set up, traffic control and logistical support.

“Our mission today was to deliver food to members of the Las Vegas community that are struggling from the COVID-19 situation,” said 2nd Lt. Jason Lee.

Hundreds of vehicles could be seen from the start point snaking around the casino. For ease of operation staff asked people to open their trunks so when they pulled up food could be easily placed into the automobile without contact. This also dramatically sped up the process.

“It takes a lot of coordination,” said Staff Sgt. Saul Brown. “We have four lanes of vehicles that run simultaneously, but it went really smooth.”

“Today (May 14) we gave out over 16,000 meals to about 800 families in just under three hours,” Lee said.

May 21 marked a milestone, however, with over 19,000 meals distributed, according to staff reports. Since 221 started working with Three Square in April they have doled out over 850,000 meals to local Las Vegas families.

Lee said he was thrilled with the overall operation, “I was impressed to see how hard the Soldiers are working. Everyone came motivated to help. Morale is very good and everyone is happy and enjoying helping out our community.”

For more National Guard news

National Guard Facebook

National Guard Twitter

How the National Guard is helping

Photos of the National Guard response

Latest from the CDC

U.S. response

White House-CDC response