The Big Help

Instead of tucking into turkey and zoning out through a football game, hundreds of volunteers will spend Thanksgiving helping homeless people at the Calvary Chapel Spring Valley’s third annual BlessFest.

But what differentiates this effort from your typical holiday meal for the less fortunate is the scope of the effort. Yes, there will be food. But there will also be showers, doctors, lawyers and a dentist on hand offering their services for free. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., those in need can get a haircut, talk with a social worker, have someone help search the Internet for family members, get clean clothes and new backpacks. They can even get a ride to church, located at 7175 W. Oquendo Road, from four locations: the Salvation Army at 31 W. Owens Ave., The Shade Tree shelter at 1 W. Owens Ave., Baker Park at St. Louis Avenue and 10th Street and the Las Vegas Rescue Mission at 480 W. Bonanza Road.

Last year, 900 volunteers served about 2,000 people, says Steve Kurcz, Calvary Chapel’s associate minister, even though BlessFest falls on a day when people typically don’t leave their homes. “It’s amazing how many people change their Thanksgiving to do this now,” Kurcz says. This year the volunteer count stands at about 500. If you want to help, contact the church at, or call 362-9000.