Over the course of the past several months, M. Dean Dupalo has directly served the Las Vegas rescue Mission Men, Women and children’s shelter, the homeless population and greater Las Vegas community.
Through his initial and continued service, leadership and coordination, Dupalo’s direct impact on the homeless population/clients has been substantive, dependable and accomplished a significant positive impact.
Three nights a week without fail, after instructing in the morning at one institution and after working a normal eight-hour teaching shift a yet another institution, Dupalo coordinates amongst several instructor chefs is various kitchens and numerous students to collects and consolidate foodstuffs, properly package and catalog the donation, load and immediately transport the foodstuffs to the downtown area (a.k.a. ‘homeless corridor’) late each of the three evenings where it is unloaded, separated and stored for the weeks’ use by the shelter and the homeless clients. He does not and has not received nor sought any funds of credit from work, others, or us for all of his efforts formal and/or informal (i.e. no fuel, no time off, no reimbursement).
Simply, food donations are significant – responsible for feeding literally hundreds of homeless clients for dinner 3-4 nights a week. The foodstuffs provide a will-balanced diet for the men, women and children in the short-term and long-term shelter and recovery programs as well as an occasional treat that would not otherwise be possible.
Dupalo began the food donation program, where none has existed prior nor any planned, after witnessing a tremendous amount of edible food waste at which point he secured a legal document protecting all parties in liability action and quickly coordinated and managed the program to this day. In sum, Dupalo grasped a tremendous need and distinguished what was considered waste by many as a resource and solely through his efforts matched the two together much to everyone’s benefit.
The need for the homeless community is Las Vegas and the surrounding area is great with an average of 5,000+ new people monthly and hundreds added to the hungry and homeless population with little corresponding increase in homeless services and facing ever more competitive funding sources to serve the hungry and homeless.
Dupalo’s efforts have not been limited to solely providing foodstuffs alone, he has successfully written grants, again without any compensation, on our behalf to assist funding for the operation of the emergency shelter, encouraging his culinary students to consistently volunteer at the shelter as cooks, generally 4-5, on weekends (including a second women’s shelter) providing direct service to our homeless clients while garnering experience (creating a ‘Day of Service’ Award for 24, 48, 72+ hours of direct service for his students volunteerism), volunteered in the food service line itself with his family members and has personally contributed donations on several occasions. Furthermore, Dupalo has encouraged many of his university students to volunteer, even friends and neighbors, and donate their time and effort to the homeless shelter as public service. In sum, literally, M. Dupalo coordinates an on-going activity that directly supports community needs, not only directly feeds the homeless but builds connections and substantively impacts the greater community.
(He maintains a vigorous work schedule, working as an adjunt faculty instructor in Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, teaching basic government and public service to first-year students and a local culinary school. Another telling sign of Dupalo’s community involvement is that he sits on the City of Las Vegas Community Development Review Board, reviewing and guiding community non-profits for public funding for the past three years.)