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Another great benefit

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By Optic Editorial Board

It’s common knowledge, at least in our line of work, that no event becomes an “annual” affair until its second year. So that in itself is cause to celebrate this year’s second annual Mayor’s Charity Ball.

As the brainchild of our current mayor, Alfonso E. Ortiz Jr., the charity ball is designed to benefit the Mayor’s Community Initiative Fund, something that Ortiz set up last year to support worthy causes around town. The 2010 ball raised an impressive $20,124, and we’re hopeful this year’s event — a masquerade ball this time — will be equally if not more successful. It begins at 5 p.m. this Saturday, so if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, time is running out.

The larger celebration, however, is for the good work done by the people and organizations being supported by this initiative. As of Sept. 4, of the $22,269 donated in its first year of existence, just under $20 remained in the fund — enough to keep its two bank accounts (at Community First and Bank of Las Vegas) open — which means that $22,249 has been given out for various causes all around town. That includes such basics as:

• Food — in the form of support for soup kitchen meals, food bags and trays, holiday meals and celebrations, and more — totalling $7,593.

• Clothing — for children to have shoes and other necessities, including such “extras” as eye exams — for $4,860.

• Shelter — to help families keep their utilities connected, keep someone out of the weather and inside a shelter, or even to house youth activities in town — receiving $4,970.

Total up the money spent on those necessities and less than a quarter of the Mayor’s Community Initiative Fund is left. That money went to what you could call “quality of life” necessities — gifts to children, the local Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program, a Great American Cleanup contest that benefited Little League ballclubs and the city as a whole, literacy efforts, free transportation for people without vehicles, and more.

All told, hundreds if not thousands of people have been served thanks to this single fund. We are a better community because of it. And the mayor would be the first to say it’s not him, it’s the community, that did it.

Saturday’s second annual ball will be fun for a good cause. It’s a good reminder that we’re all blessed by the generosity of our community.