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November 17, 2019

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America First Credit Union

How to make a difference this holiday season

AFCU Native 1031

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s a great time to examine your community service habits and look for opportunities to give back. From volunteering time to supporting food and clothing drives, there are many avenues of outreach that benefit the less fortunate. “One of our core values is being a strong community partner, with efforts primarily directed at providing food, shelter and clothing to the less fortunate,” said Nicole Cypers, Vice President of Public Relations for America First. “We regularly work with Three Square Food Bank, SafeNest Shelter, Honor Flights of Southern Nevada, Robert O. Gibson Middle School and Red Rock Elementary School, as well as a host of other philanthropic initiatives that are led by the generosity of our members.” Here’s a look at some worthwhile causes and tips for getting involved.

Three Square Food Bank

Three Square provides food assistance to Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda and Clark counties. Its operation includes food banking, food rescue and ready-to-eat meals for those in need with the mission of providing wholesome food in the pursuit of a hunger-free community. The largest food bank in Southern Nevada, Three Square collaborates with almost 1,400 community partners and distributed more than 39 million meals in 2018—about 47 million pounds of food and grocery products.

Because Three Square works extensively with community partners, there are multiple ways to get involved, including food drives at local businesses. “We recently wrapped up our organization-wide food drive, and we’re pleased to report that all Southern Nevada contributions are on the way to Three Square Food Bank,” Cypers sai. Learn more at

Warm the Soles of Kids

Warm the Soles of Kids supplies shoes for economically disadvantaged school-aged children and is operated by America First Credit Union Charitable Foundation. “Annually, we collect donations to purchase shoes for students in need. Last year, we delivered 1,863 pairs, including 350 pairs to six Nevada schools and agencies. We feel that new shoes are essential for good health and positive development,” Cypers said. For details and contribution information, visit

Honor Flight of Southern Nevada

Honor Flight of Southern Nevada escorts WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to memorials in Washington, D.C. The all-volunteer nonprofit caters to veterans from Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Tonopah, Ely, Mesquite, Laughlin and Pahrump. Honor Flights accepts donations and volunteers to help organize trips and accompany veterans. “America First employees have been privileged to attend past Honor Flights,” Cypers said. Learn more at


SafeNest opened the first shelter and 24-hour crisis line for abused women and children in Southern Nevada in 1977. It has since opened additional shelters and counseling centers and has expanded its legal assistance and programming. SafeNest accepts monetary gifts, clothes, personal care items, household items, vehicles and more. It also offers an array of volunteering opportunities. Learn more at

Volunteering Tips

The holidays tend to inspire individuals to get involved, but it’s important to remember that organizations need year-round assistance. “While nonprofits are appreciative of help at any time, it can be beneficial to ask when their busy and slow seasons are, and see if you can contribute during both times,” Cypers said. To optimize your altruism, Cypers recommends conducting research to find local nonprofits that align with your interests. From there, contact those organizations to figure out their needs and ensure that your efforts will be useful.