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Hungry to help: Annual Rock, Roll & Stroll raises funds for Meals on Wheels

An afternoon of rocking and rolling to some lively entertainment will help provide hundreds of meals to local senior citizens.

The third annual Rock, Roll & Stroll, which raises funds for the Senior Center of Boulder City and its Meals on Wheels program, will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in Bicentennial Park, 999 Colorado St.

Susan Johnson, president of the senior center’s board of directors, said the fundraiser is vital to keep the meal delivery program and facility itself operational. The state ranked 50th nationwide in 2014 in per meal funding for home-delivered meals, she noted.

Former board member and longtime volunteer May Kahl said many seniors rely on the center for meals and companionship. She said some local women have told her they only receive $600 a month in income.

So she rocks in a rocking chair for them, gathering pledges to help the senior center.

They, along with other board members and volunteers have been working steadily since October, getting sponsors, pledges and raising awareness of the event. Both Johnson and Kahl said they have been overwhelmed by generosity of the community for the fundraiser.

Yet, they want a little more. They would like to see more people come out to the actual event to rock in a rocking chair, roll in a wheelchair or stroll around the park.

“We need you to be there,” Johnson said.

This year, they have added a kids zone to make the fundraiser more family friendly. There also will be entertainment, and food including “Mike Pacini burgers,” fresh baked goods, coffee and hot chocolate.

The Interfaith Peace Choir, directed by Boulder City resident Francyl Gawryn, will open the celebration with its rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as well as performing three songs of peace and goodwill at 1 p.m.

“Plus there will be rocking, rolling and strolling, or course,” Johnson said.

Last year’s event raised $22,875, which allowed the center to provide an additional 3,813 meals, Johnson said.

Currently, the Meals on Wheels program delivers between 55 and 60 meals per day, in addition to the approximately 80 served at the center itself.

From September 2016 to September 2017, the center provided 15,438 meals to homebound seniors. Johnson said each meal costs $10 to prepare, $6 for the food alone.

“We received grant money of $38,043 and donations (a $2 donation is recommended) of $17,009. Our total expenses to provide homebound meals is $90,657. We have a deficit of $35,604,” she said.

Covering that cost is why the annual fundraiser is so essential for the program, she said, adding they are fortunate because all of their delivery drivers are volunteers.

“We are one of only a few senior centers around with volunteer drivers,” Johnson added.

A fifth delivery route was recently added to the Boulder City program ensuring no senior had to be put on a waiting list.

This year, in addition to raising funds to offset the cost of meals, the senior center plans to use a portion of the money for maintenance for the 32-year-old facility and upgrades to the kitchen.

“Our kitchen equipment is also old and we are replacing it a little at a time,” Johnson said.

Recently, the center had to purchase a new oven, which cost $7,900.

She said the warming table needs to be replaced and anticipates it will cost between $1,500 and $3,000.

“We are so grateful to our community for the support they give to keep our Boulder City senior center a safe, fun and vibrant place for our Boulder City senior population,” Johnson said.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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