Industry Veterans to Host Pop-Up Food Drive for Las Vegas Event Workers

February 5, 2021

If there’s one thing that the live events industry has continued to demonstrate over the course of its history, it’s an open-hearted willingness to help its own, particularly in times of crisis. COVID-19 has presented yet another opportunity to do just that. 

Since the Las Vegas trade show industry came to a halt last March, many trade show and event workers have remained out of work and in urgent need of help, including with basics such as food. A concerned group of trade show industry companies, including the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) Las Vegas Chapter; Metro Multimedia; Freeman; Get Fresh; Messe Dusseldorf North America, Teamsters Local 631; Three Square food bank and MAD Event Management have joined forces to answer that call.

On Feb. 13, the group will host the Las Vegas Live Events Industry Food Drive from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Designed “for trade show and event industry people by trade show and event industry people,” it will distribute free boxes of assorted food items for trade show and event workers experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19-related job layoffs. 

“Our EDPA chapter is well-versed in the importance of food security with our annual food drive, and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to partner with other generous people in live events to help our industry family here in Las Vegas,” said Jen LaBruzz, chapter president of EDPA Las Vegas. “It’s about being able to show some love for those in our industry and say, ‘We haven’t forgotten about you.’”  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Las Vegas-Henderson metro area has the unfortunate distinction of harboring one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, at 11.5% as of January 2021. 

Those interested in receiving donations are asked to confidentially reserve their spot for curbside pick-up by registering here, after which a Las Vegas pick-up location will be provided.

Individuals must be prepared to show their ESCA or union badge, or industry business card upon picking up their food box. 

According to Martha Donato, founder and president of MAD Event Management, the seed for this altruistic effort was planted last spring, when a group of industry veterans across all disciplines and segments started getting together to discuss ways to restart trade shows and events. 

Recently, several members of the group expressed a desire to help industry members undergoing difficult times. 

“We’ve been working with people from every corner of the event sector and know that the suffering from lack of work is significant,” Donato said.  

This desire to assist led to a food drive that collected canned goods, nonperishable food items and fundraising efforts that resulted in more than $5,000 to purchase additional foodstuffs for industry members in need.  

“We took up a collection during our regular industry-update calls, and that was the start of this effort,” Donato explained. “There’s so much more that needs to be done, but it only takes a spark to get a fire going. We’re hoping to bring awareness and action to the thousands who are unemployed in the event industry.”

If you’d like to help this life-saving effort, you can donate money to help purchase additional food items here. The Las Vegas EDPA Chapter is a 501(c)3 organization, so donations are eligible for charitable deductions. If you are in the Las Vegas area, you can help pack food boxes on Friday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. Reach out to Martha Donato at


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