Community center needs community support

Although most of the people attending Friday’s street dance at the Senior Center of Boulder City were old enough to be regular visitors at the downtown facility, they were young in spirit and had an enthusiasm that was fresh and vibrant along with an eagerness to help.

That’s a good thing, because that’s exactly what the center will need to survive and thrive in the coming years.

For most of us, institutions such as the Senior Center are just that — institutions. We don’t ever consider the possibility that they won’t be there next week, next month or next year.

That’s not always the case. And it’s exactly the situation the Senior Center is facing.

With an ever-growing need and ever-increasing number of attendees, the facility has an annual deficit of slightly more than $100,000.

According to Tammy Copelan, executive director, and Rose Ann Miele, president of the nonprofit’s board of directors, it’s the cost of providing lunches weekdays at the center and daily for those who are homebound that creates the biggest financial hurdle.

With about 200 meals a day served on average, and with a deficit of $2.13 per meal, the problem grows daily.

The difference has to come from somewhere.

Fortunately, fans of the center came to Friday’s event ready to help. Certainly, the $1 admission, $2 hot dogs and $1 baked goods and freshly popped popcorn bolstered the coffers. So did the proceeds from the silent auction and the extra dollars donated by those who attended the festivities. There were even a few donations made from those who were unable to attend. Now that’s community spirit, and a great place to start — with start being the key word.

One small fundraiser is not enough for the center to continue to be a viable and integral part of the community.

More than just a place to come have lunch, the Senior Center is a place where people can come to interact with others. Membership ($12 per year for those 50 and older) is not required to participate, but it is another way to support the facility.

If Friday’s street dance is any indication, the center is the place to be.

Whether it was dancing, sharing a meal, listening to great music or playing bingo, everyone was having fun. Smiles were plentiful as was laughter.

For some people, the center provides their only connection with other human beings. And for those senior citizens who are unable to leave home, the center is their link to the outside world through the Meals on Wheels program.

Copeland said the food delivery program doubles as a wellness check. It’s just one of a growing number of services the center offers. Others include a food pantry, commodities distribution, notary services, tax assistance, lending library, computer classes and computers available for use, and medical equipment loans.

Board members, along with Copelan hope that they also can create a network of resources and information at the center. If possible, they would like to physically expand the facility to accommodate its new role.

They also want to be a resource center for the community at large.

Like anything else, that takes money. Something the center is a little short of right now.

It’s headed in the right direction. Hopefully between grants, donations and a little creative fundraising, such as the street dance, the board and its staff will be able to make plans for next year and many more after that.