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Caesars Partners with Clean The World & Three Square Food Bank

Caesars Partners with Clean The World

More than 207,000 children in southern Nevada lose access to free or reduced-price meals when school is not in session. One Las Vegas-based organization, though, helps meet hunger needs with a summer food service program offered at more than 100 sites around the state’s valley.

THREE SQUARE

“Reaching children at risk of going hungry becomes a challenge, however, when thousands of children are inaccessible,” says Michael Phillips, development manager for Three Square food bank in Las Vegas. “The meal sites are great for those who have access to them, but what about those children who live out of reach?”

Three Square Food Bank

To meet that need, the organization launched its first mobile meal distribution in 2016. Using refrigerated vans, Three Square provided meals at 18 apartment complexes on two routes, reaching more than 700 additional kids per day last summer.

That is just one of the one of the many success stories for an organization that provides food assistance to the residents of Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln and Nye counties in Nevada. Three Square’s operation combines food banking, food rescue and ready-to-eat meals in an effort to achieve a “hunger-free community.” It distributed more than 36 million meals in 2017 through a network of 1,600 community partners.

One of those partners is Caesars Entertainment.

“Three Square will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this upcoming year, and since day one, Caesars has been instrumental in our growth and success in helping the hungry in our community,” Phillips says.

In fact, the organization has received support from more than 47 Caesars volunteer groups, serving thousands of hours.

“The Caesars HEROs help in all different areas of our mission, including packing meals in our kitchen for Kids Café, as well as bagging thousands of bags of fresh produce for food-insecure individuals,” Phillips says.

Caesars and the Caesars Foundation have supported Three Square since 2007, and a member of the Caesars team has served on the Three Square Board of Directors since its inception.

“The company, employees and stakeholders of Caesars have generously offered their support to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Phillips says. “This fall, Caesars partnered with Nevada Public Radio to provide meals to Three Square as part of the station’s membership drive incentives. Additionally, Caesars’ teams have engaged in numerous food drives in support of Three Square and have donated food product from various properties.”

CLEAN THE WORLD

Caesars also partners with another organization that helps communities locally and nationally.

Since 2009, Orlando-based Clean the World has distributed 43 million bars of soap to 118 countries and it has built and distributed 1.4 million hygiene kits in the United States. It operates recycling centers in Canada, China, the U.K. and the U.S.

Clean The World

“Our partnership with Caesars Entertainment began in 2010 when it was The Harrah’s Foundation,” says Debi Kinney, vice president, CSR and hotel business development for Clean the World. “The Caesars Foundation, when they took over, renewed the partnership from 2011 to 2013 with a three-year commitment, and then again in 2014 with a continuing three-year annual commitment.”

Kinney says Caesars was instrumental in establishing Clean the World’s Hospitality Recycling Program in Las Vegas.

“They joined as our first partner in the region, and they really do continue to play a huge role in providing the industry leadership that brings us to scale,” she says.

One of the first things that Caesars did with Clean the World was carry the Hygiene Kit Program as part of its Meetings for Good menu, which promotes “community engagement among Caesars-operated resorts, their meeting customers and local nonprofit organizations.”

Every property is equipped to tell a story about the life cycle of soap—from it being re-purposed from a guest’s room and sent to a mom or a child in need somewhere around the globe, or that product being put into hygiene kits that groups can build on site at a Caesars property to donate to a local shelter.

“They have done a good job of helping us scale the partnership from a global perspective but also to a local and domestic perspective,” Kinney says. “When Caesars came on board and gave us that legitimacy, we had so many others follow suit. They really helped us to expand throughout the western United States, with collecting and shipping our soap waste in for recycling at our Las Vegas recycling center.”

WORKING WITH MEETING & EVENT PLANNERS

Both Clean the World and Three Square offer opportunities for meeting and event planners and groups to volunteer their time. Consider, for example, the Hygiene Kit Program.

“We launched that about four years ago,” Clean the World’s Kinney says. “Now, we have four different hygiene kit types: our standard hygiene kit, a children’s hygiene kit, a women’s hygiene kit and a veteran’s hygiene kit. If any of our clients are working or have a particular affinity toward any particular cause, we are able to support that in a very specialized way.”

The Hygiene Kit Program is also mobile and customizable based on available space, group size, time commitment and budget.

“Having been a meeting planner myself, I know that you’re spinning all the plates and you’re just trying to keep them all in motion,” Kinney says. “With Clean the World’s Hygiene Kit Program, we take that plate and we spin it for you.”

Three Square’s most popular volunteer opportunity is its Backpack for Kids Program (also on Caesars’ Meetings for Good menu), which can be organized on site at an event. The organization provides all the items needed to pack and assemble bags, leads the activity and facilitates the teardown and clean-up. After the activity, Three Square distributes the bags to schools in need.

Another service opportunity is the Virtual Food Drive, where Three Square will create a custom website for a company or team that includes a logo, an engagement message and a donation counter.

Finally, Succeed & Feed is Three Square’s corporate program that helps motivate and inspire people through a series of team-building and personal development activities at the organization’s food bank, feeding those in need at the same time. A trained communication model facilitator leads the sessions, which can also be held at a convention center or a hotel.

THE IMPACT OF SERVICE

“Volunteer engagement is vital for us,” Phillips says. “Our volunteers are the oxygen at Three Square, and our mission would simply be impossible without them.”

For many service-oriented organizations, January through March is a slow and challenging time, especially when it comes to getting volunteers. 

“It is important that we spread the message that hunger is not seasonal and that we must operate year-round to provide food for our hungry neighbors,” Phillips says. “Three Square’s volunteer engagement team works diligently to enhance the experience for our volunteers to ensure that they not only feel appreciated but also want to come back.”

One challenge service-oriented providers have is conveying the impact their efforts have on the communities they serve. Clean the World does this, for example, by providing impact statements to hotels showing how many pounds of soap and bottles they sent in, what was repurposed and what was the recycled output.

“That has been well-received, because it gives some numbers and some ability to understand, really, what that impact is,” Kinney says. “Not everybody—not every housekeeper, not every guest sleeping in a guest room—is going to see the mom or the child who gets handed a bar of soap. Or not everybody gets to see where that bar of soap goes. For a homeless individual, taking a shower is not just about getting clean, it is about a sense of dignity and pride and feeling good.”

Phillips says one of the most important lessons the organization has learned over the last decade is the need to continuously prove its effectiveness and impact to the donor community while also maximizing its operations.

“We need thousands of supporters throughout the community to feed the hungry, not just a few hundred,” he says. “One of Three Square’s core values is collaboration, which means we believe in the power of working together and we are thankful for those who help us help others.”

For Phillips, working at Three Square has refocused him on what really matters.

“To be able to wake up in the morning and know that I have the opportunity to help my neighbors is an awesome blessing and responsibility,” he says.

Kinney’s feelings are similar.

“I feel very lucky every day that I go to work,” she says. “It doesn’t feel like a job, because I know every person in our organization is helping someone. I think that’s powerful, and I feel blessed to be able to have that opportunity.”

SIDEBAR

Watch an MPITV video in our digital edition to learn more about the life-changing impact of Clean the World


About the Author

Jason Hensel
Jason Hensel

Jason Hensel is a freelance writer and former editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes improv comedy, bacon and books.