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Street dance to benefit Senior Center on Friday

There will be dancing in the street. And eating, and games and a silent auction.

From 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, the Senior Center of Boulder City is presenting Funds and Fun for Food, a fundraiser to benefit its food programs, in the street behind the center, 813 Arizona St.

Rising food costs and an increase in the number of people served by the center has created an annual $100,000 deficit, said Tammy Copelan, executive director.

Although the center has applied for grants and received some, including $180,000 from the U.S. Agriculture Department to sustain its food pantry, Copelan said there is an ever-increasing need for money to maintain its daily food service program.

“Our No. 1 function, our No. 1 reason for being is for about 60 people a day who we serve homebound meals to. These are people who are physically unable to prepare their own meals and we provide that and a wellness check five days a week, and frozen meals for weekends,” she said.

“Some of these people are a step away from being homeless and some have lakeside homes. They have no one else to check on them.”

Rose Ann Miele, president of the nonprofit organization’s board of directors, said they serve an average of 200 meals a day at the center and delivered to the homebound. She said its cost $5.28 per homebound meal and $4.18 per meal served at the Senior Center.

Grants and donations help offset the cost of food, along with utilities to operate the center and maintain the equipment, but that still leaves the center with a deficit of $2.13 per meal, Miele said.

The center asks for a $2 donation per meal from those 60 and older and charges $3 for those 59 and younger.

Started in May 1983 by a group of volunteer senior citizens, the center is only one of three in Boulder City and the Las Vegas Valley that serves daily meals, Copelan said.

Volunteers play an integral role in the center’s operation, she said. Four people deliver all the meals to the homebound, using their own vehicles and fuel.

“They define what it means to ‘Be Boulder’… ‘Be Kind, Be Boulder,’ ” she said.

Additionally, volunteers work at the center, helping serve daily lunches, staffing the welcome desk and more.

“If it weren’t for the volunteers, this place would close tomorrow,” Copeland said, noting there are 14 volunteer positions that need to be filled daily.

In addition to daily lunches, the center serves as a hub for social activities and information pertinent to senior citizens, Copelan said.

Since she arrived at the center four years ago, Copelan has worked to make the facility a place where senior citizens want to be.

“We have worked to turn the senior center into a resource center and a place where people feel comfortable coming to and where they are comfortable asking for information,” she said.

In addition to the need to raise funds for the food programs, Copelan said one of the reasons for the street dance is to help raise awareness of the Senior Center. Many people have the misconception that the facility is owned and operated by Boulder City.

“Many senior centers across the state of Nevada are run by a city — the closest one being in Henderson — so there is the assumption that we are too. While the city does assist us, we are not city employees and we do not receive funding for food from the city,” Copelan said. “We are a standalone 501(c)3.

She said she also wants to let the community know that the senior center is “not a depressing and sad place. There are a lot of vibrant, lovely and intelligent people here. We have 80-year-olds at our computer classes.”

All community residents are invited to the street dance. Admission is $1.

For more information, call the Senior Center at 702-293-3320

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