Sometimes you need a wake-up call to realize how truly lucky you are.  I got that wake-up call on Saturday, March 19 when I celebrated St. Joseph’s Day with Chef Geno and some of the staff of Nove and 9 Group at St. Vincent Lied Dining Room on the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada campus. 

Servando Daniels/Chef Geno Bernardo at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (credit 9Group)

Each year, communities pay tribute to the Italian holiday, St. Joseph’s Day, by giving food to the less fortunate, a custom that has been around for centuries. 

I arrived at Catholic Charities around 10:30 a.m. and there was a line out the door.  Men and women were waiting in line to receive a hot meal, many of them homeless and jobless carried what they owned in a backpack or a rolling suitcase.  They waited outside in the Vegas wind that made the temperature feel even cooler than it was.  The St. Vincent Lied Dining Room Facility feeds nutritious meals to homeless and needy men, women and children every day of the year, in a clean and safe environment, no questions asked.  A free meal is served to anyone who is hungry. 

Serving his signature Nove spaghetti, Chef Geno worked with Siena Food Company to have the pasta donated and Enzo to supply the tomatoes for the marinara sauce.  In addition, Las Vegas Bakery, Bon Breads donated a variety of breads and 9 Group/Palms sponsor, FIJI Water, supplied bottled water. For dessert, Nove Italiano’s Executive Pastry Chef Victor Solano treated those in need to a variety of cakes.  After about an hour and half, nearly 700 people were served a hot meal.  It was truly an eye-opening experience to see so many people in need and a charity that provide them a service free of charge.  

It is days like this that I realize, I am more than blessed.  I have an incredible circle of family, friends and colleagues, plus a job that I love.  It is days like this that reminds me that I can make a difference and help those in my community.  It doesn’t have to always be by donating money, but by merely donating your time.   I ask you all to think of what you can do to help those less fortunate in your community.   To learn more about Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada visit their website at www.catholiccharities.com.