Southern Nevada has the fastest-growing homeless population in the nation—a population that’s increased 28 percent since 2013, according to the Clark County Department of Social Service. What’s more, WalletHub recently named Nevada as the least charitable state in the U.S. But some locals are out there helping to disprove the latter assertion, if not improve the former statistic.
Gene Gunnels, a musician and owner of the Hot Diggity Dog stand, does his part every December. The effort began about six years ago, when friends and colleagues pitched in to help Gunnels get his business off the ground. “When the holidays came around, I thought I would like to give back to the community,” he says. Naturally, he chose to serve hot dogs to the hungry and homeless, offering a variety of options. “It lets [them] feel like their choices are important to us, and that makes them smile,” he says.