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Volunteers ‘Lend A Hand’ as needed

“Just so there is somebody there to help — that’s my biggest goal,” said Shannon Eckman, executive director of Lend A Hand of Boulder City.

Her goal for the future of the organization, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 16, is the same as its mission: to help those age 60 and older and disabled people in Boulder City remain in their homes.

Through its cadre of volunteers, the nonprofit offers a variety of services such as transportation to doctors’ offices and for running errands, light housekeeping, companionship, respite for caregivers, pet walking and help arranging appointments. In other words, they are there to lend a hand wherever help is needed, Eckman said.

Currently, Lend A Hand has 70 volunteers to assist 374 clients. In the last fiscal year, which just ended, volunteers donated 7,594.75 hours and drove 94,736 miles, averaging 525 trips or visits a month.

Eckman said fewer doctors in town are caring for senior citizens, creating a greater need for volunteers to drive people to appointments in the Las Vegas Valley.

The need for assistance continues to grow, as evidenced by the increase in the number of clients from 330 last year and jump in hours by more than 1,000. According to the organization’s 2018 annual report, its volunteers had driven 1.2 million miles and donated 128,000 hours in its 29 years of service to the community.

Past board president Phyllis Bachhuber began volunteering with the organization about four years ago. She said she especially appreciates the flexibility offered to volunteers, matching their availability with the needs of the clients.

Eckman said there is never any charge to clients for services, although donations are welcome. Like other nonprofits, Lend A Hand relies on grants, fundraisers and donations to survive.

Bachhuber said a grant the nonprofit received from MGM Resorts International enabled them to subcontract for specific medical and transportation services their volunteers couldn’t provide.

They also established a medical equipment lending library of sorts, providing items such as walkers, wheelchairs and shower stools.

Still housed in the original facility it once shared with St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church at 400 Utah St., the organization has outgrown its space, Eckman and Bachhuber said.

A new home and establishing a legacy program to ensure donations are part of the group’s five-year strategic plan.

Lend A Hand was started in 1989 when a group of local churches and social organizations heard a story that prompted them into action.

According to Bachhuber and Eckman, they only recently heard the story of a man who was caring for his elderly mother, who tended to wander off. When he had to go to work or the store and didn’t have anyone available to watch her, he would tie her to a chair to prevent her from leaving and injuring herself, they said.

An anniversary celebration will be held from 4-6 p.m. at Railroad Pass Casino, 2800 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson. It will feature beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as door prizes.

Tickets for the celebration, at $30 each, are still available. They can be purchased at the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, 465 Nevada Way.

For more information, call Lend A Hand at 702-294-2363 or visit the website at http://www.lendahandbouldercity.org.

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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