Don Walker, a director of Emergency Aid of Boulder City, walks into his office with a smile on his face. Walker, who has been a volunteer with Emergency Aid since 1990, is familiar with this building, and has seen his fair share of people who are in need of help walk in the doors.
“Have you ever heard of psychic income,” Walker said. “Well, that’s the good feeling you get when doing community service or helping people. That’s the reason I do this. That’s the reason I’m still here.”
Since being chartered by Nevada in 1966, Emergency Aid has raised funds and donations to give a helping hand to residents of Boulder City in need of assistance.
This nonprofit organization is composed of 21 volunteers and helps about 30 families or more a day with anything from food, clothes or lodging to even helping them pay their electric bills if they are unable to do so.
“That is a big thing is what have you made in the last 30 days. We don’t base what you did a year ago or what you think you’re going to do make,” said Sue McCullough, president of Emergency Aid. “You show up on our doorstep, although we do want to know if you live in Boulder City. But no matter what if you need in food or water we will help you out.”
According to McCullough, 70 percent of what Emergency Aid helps people with is rent, which is one of the biggest problems facing Boulder City residents.
In a memorandum to the City Council, to work at full efficiency and serve Boulder City residents properly, Emergency Aid needs $130,000 to $175,000 a year for rent/utility assistance and $35,000 to $45,000 for administration/client support.
“At the end of the day we help a big majority of low-income families in Boulder City,” Walker said.
The organization’s income in 2012 was approximately $148,500; $69,800 of it from various government grants.
According to its latest tax return filed in May, Emergency Aid handed out $132,600 in rent assistance, and another $28,500 in emergency lodging. The latter is for people who have been displaced for various reasons.
Another $22,000 was spent on utility payment assistance for low-income households. Include bus passes, medical assistance, and the food pantry, the organization spent nearly $207,000 assisting people in Boulder City last year.
The organization finished the year with $207,000 in cash, savings and investments. Emergency Aid is an all-volunteer organization; none of its officers or directors receive pay.
Throughout the year the need for help remains steady, and residents in need keep pouring into the organization for any kind of help. Yet when the holidays roll around the true effect of Emergency Aid on families in need becomes clear.
This Thanksgiving, Emergency Aid expects to receive more than 300 requests for food baskets. During Christmastime it sponsors an event called the Christmas Angel Tree, where Boulder City kids write down what they want for Christmas, put the list on a Christmas tree set up for them and Emergency Aid finds a way to get them their present.
“This little program keeps our image out in the public,” Walker said. “Takes you into homes where their incomes have been jerked around and they don’t know how they’re going to do Christmas. It is a real emotional time.”
Emergency Aid is open from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday at the city-owned old L.A. Water and Power Building, 600 Nevada Way. It is always accepting donations of any kind.
“When you first try and go out and get some of these grants, they’re thinking, ‘Well, what are these mom and pops doing?’ But you’ve got every walk of life and every job connection spread out through the volunteers,” McCullough said. “Bottom line, we have handled business.”