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Local non-profit provides free meals for South Asian families in need

By Anjali Patel,


A free food distribution is taking place on Saturday, March 25 for low-income South Asian families in the Las Vegas area.

It's hosted by the South Asian Women's Alliance of Nevada, with funding and support from the Asian Community Development Council.

"We have a pilot program we are trying out," said SWAN co-founder and treasurer Divya Narala.

Narala says this is the first time SWAN is hosting its own food distribution for South Asian families in need. The drive-through-style distribution is from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at 4460 S. Arville Street.

Families will be given a box full of South Asian pantry staples, including basmati rice, aata (wheat flour), dal (lentils), spices, dates, vegetables, and more. Narala said each box of food is about a $75 to $100 value, and 65 to 70 families have already pre-registered for the event, as of Thursday morning.

That's not only a testament to the need in our community, she says, but also the need for culturally specific services like this.

"Offering, you know, not so commonly found food items in the regular food pantries that you see in the community. So, we're putting together very culturally specific items in the hopes that we're helping meet some of the nutritional and food needs of the South Asian community here in Las Vegas and southern Nevada," Narala said. "Families who may need the assistance, even when they go to regular food pantries, they don't normally see items that they're familiar with, so even if they're picking it up, they're probably not utilizing it to the best of their abilities."

She said it's all about doing intentional outreach, and understanding that South Asians struggle, too.

"I think we fall into that myth in the Asian community overall, South Asians too, of that model minority myth. Folks who feel like, 'Oh, there's no one in my community that needs something like food.' But rest assured, there's plenty of folks that could use even a little bit of assistance," Narala said.

Narala said through this distribution, they also hope to connect low-income South Asian families with other resources and services they may need through ACDC .

"Food may be the first access point, but we know folks may need legal services, healthcare services, all of those additional wraparound services, so we're gauging those needs right now," she said.

Also, depending on the turnout and the need this Saturday, Narala says similar food distributions may happen in the future.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but Narala said they can do intake forms on the day of, as they understand some folks may have difficulty accessing or using technology. She said they have enough supplies to serve about 100 families on Saturday.

As for volunteers, Narala said they have plenty for Saturday's event, but more opportunities to help will surely arise in the future as the young organization develops and expands its mission.

To learn more about SWAN or pre-register for Saturday's event, visit their website .

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