Twenty-five years! That’s a long time for a company, even one as deeply rooted in the community as Walker Furniture, to consistently and generously open their heart and their pocketbook to anyone, let alone to the hundreds of families they have helped over the years.
Yet 2018 marks the twenty-fifth year “Home for the Holidays,” Walker Furniture’s flagship philanthropic effort, has supplied entire housefuls of new furniture to Las Vegans in need.
Walker has since created other charitable programs for the Las Vegas community, including Help for Heroes, Project Firehouse-Rested and Ready and a number of programs in partnership with the Clark County School District. Larry Alterwitz, Walker’s CEO, says Walker’s strong social conscience is anchored in the example of his father Oscar, the organization’s founder.
“Dad was a brilliant businessman from the moment he opened our family’s first furniture store in Gary, Indiana in the ‘60’s. He was also a very compassionate man. Long before 1973 when we moved to Las Vegas and the family bought Walker Furniture Store, he understood, how important it is to champion the rights and the dignity of others. His example mentored me as a boy and continues to guide the Board of Walker Furniture to this day.”
So, in 1994, Larry made a TV spot that pledged to donate an entire houseful of new furniture to twelve Las Vegas families in need. And he’s been making those spots, and that pledge, every year since.
This year, Walker is once again spearheading “Home for the Holidays” and will present 35 families new living room, dining room and bedroom furniture. Once the call for nominations goes out to the community for families in need, nomination letters start pouring into to Walker.
Helping Hands of the Valley reads the 2000+ letters, and their expertly trained staff visit the families and identify those with the most pressing needs. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County Fire Department also nominate five families each to be recipients based on their community outreach.
An Executive Committee consisting of Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Helping Hands Executive Director, Marcia Blake, members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, local community leaders and TV anchors make the final selection.
Furniture deliveries to the families begin December 13th. Star Nursery supplies families with Christmas trees and decorations and Las Vegas Rescue Mission supplies food and toys for the families.
Larry Alterwitz comments: “Aside from the material and emotional support the families receive, one of the best things that’s come out of this campaign is that Las Vegas has developed a reputation as one of the most giving communities in the country.
“Giving is contagious. It uplifts the people we reach out to, the community and the spirit within ourselves. It’s one of the sweetest and most helpful things we can do.
”In the twenty-five years since “Home for the Holidays” began, we’ve developed partnerships with over 30 local businesses, non-profits and media outlets who donate funds, time and energy to make the joy of Christmas a living reality for these families. It’s a joint effort all Las Vegas can be proud of.“
Here’s how you can help:
Anyone in the Clark County community can nominate a family: teachers, health care professionals, social service workers, clergy, friends, neighbors and family members.
If you know of a family or individual in need—a single-parent household in financial difficulty, families with members who have serious healthcare problems, families who have lost their homes due to fire or other natural disasters, families effected by domestic violence—please submit a letter explaining their situation.
The deadline for letters is November 30, 2018.
Letters should be sent to:
Larry Alterwitz, CEO
301 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89106
Letters can be mailed by U.S. Postal Service, faxed, hand-delivered or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at the link below.