When Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN) opened its doors in 1941, Clark County had roughly 20,000 residents. During the past 75 years, CCSN has grown to meet the needs of the growing valley community which now numbers more than two million.

CCSN currently offers more than 20 services that feed, clothe, educate, and shelter those in need. One of the best-known programs is Meals on Wheels. Each day, CCSN delivers healthy and nutritious meals to more than 2200 home-bound seniors. Once a week, drivers deliver seven made-from-scratch meals, a bag of fruit, and a half-gallon of milk. In addition, the drivers do wellness checks on those clients.

In addition to feeding seniors through the Meals on Wheels program, CCSN also provides daily meals for members in need at the St. Vincent Lied Dining Center. Excutive Chef Juan Penate, who started his career cooking in fine restaurants on the east coast, leads a small kitchen staff and volunteers in preparing the meals. For Chef Penate, running  the CCSN dining program allows him the opportunity to do two things about which he’s passionate—cook and help others.

Using donations from CCSN partners in addition to his small budget, Penate creates fine dining-quality, nutritious meals for the valley’s most-vulnerable residents from 10-11 a.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m.-noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Because he never knows what donations he’ll have, the chef and his staff improvise the meals according to the ingredients they have on hand.

Providing a combination of accredited social services, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada provides life skills education, counseling, family stabilization, and immigration legal services to the residents of Southern Nevada regardless of age, race, religion, or creed. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, visit catholiccharities.com.