What is the purpose of Friends?

Friends in the Desert provides ‘hot meals’ and sack lunches to the homeless and disadvantaged in a dignified environment. When supplies are available, Friends in the Desert provides basic toiletry items, socks, access to a visiting nurse and referrals and bus transportation to other needed resources such as safe dwelling options, health care and dental services, and more.

When are meals served?

Meals are served in the dining room of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church at:
– 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
– 11:30 AM Saturday
– Sack lunches are prepared and distributed Saturday for Sunday
– Doors open 30 minutes prior to meal

Q.  Does donated money go for staff payroll?
A. Friends In The Desert Foundation does not have any paid staff or paid trustees. All services delivered by Friends are performed by volunteers or donors. Organizational expenses for utilities, kitchen equipment, refrigeration, insurance, etc. are also funded by donations and grants. When professional services are needed we seek out vendors that honor our non-profit status with pro bono or lower cost fees.

Q.  How does donated money get used?
A.  The money is used to maintain the facility, utility costs, insurance, purchase of paper goods (e.g. paper plates, paper towels, disposable cups, napkins, etc.), pay service providers (e.g. webmaster, web hosting, plumbers, service vehicle maintenance), and some food costs.

Q.  How would the Foundation use additional collected funds?
A.  We have a plan waiting for funding entitled “Friends Moving Forward”.  This is a mentoring program that would help many of our Guests get off the street and back into personal housing.  This program would cost $17,000.00 to $20,000.00 per year while employing volunteer staff.  Additional programs are in planning that include costs for staff and activities to expand our services to better communicate with volunteers, sustain the existing program and provide dental screening and other health services.

Q.   Does Friends In the Desert Foundation receive funding from Grants?
A.   Submitting Grant applications is an extremely time-consuming process. Friends regularly applies for Grants and has been increasingly successful in being awarded Grant funding. In general, the Grant Community has changed its requirements to include the need for a full audit of the charity’s books.  Although Friends is eager to supply Audited Financials, such audits are very expensive. Friends continues to seek pro-bono audit services or donations that will offset the costs of annual audits.

Q.  Are the health needs of the Friends’ Guests being addressed?
A.  Friends’ offers health screening through a partnership with Touro University.  Nursing students under the supervision of the school’s clinical staff screen our Guests on a voluntary basis for diseases that are diagnosed from non-invasive evaluations.  This screening is conducted once a month. Read about our health services here.

Q.  Do Friends’ Guests have access to legal services?
A.  Through a partnership with the Bar Association and the Law School at UNLV, the Guests are offered a review and consultation with a lawyer to determine a solution to their legal matters, that might be effecting their lives. Read about Legal Services here.

Q.  Where do the Friends’ Guests get clothing or shoes?
A.  Through a relationship with Deseret Industries, a ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, our Guests are able to get important clothing and shoes to meet their needs for employment, safety and comfort.  We also have a clothing table of free clothes in the hall.  Donations of clothing are brought into the dining hall for distribution.

Q. What is Membership and Why do we have it?
A. We have two types of membership, Charter and SustainingCharter Membership is for those who wish to be involved and have a vote on important issues; like selecting Board Members and Officers.  Sustaining Membership is for the person or group that wants to sustain Friends and see it succeed, but does not wish to participate for personal reasons.  Both memberships have a financial element that is important to the continuation of Friends.  We are like National Public Radio (NPR) and are funded by “people like you”.

Q. Why does Friends refuse to Take US Federal Money?
A. We would be required to take names and keep records on our Guests.  We would need to establish a qualification criterion and judge each recipient, to determine if they qualify for our services.  Our policy has been and will continue to be, that if you come in the door sober and well-mannered, we will feed you.