Agency reaches out to seniors in need, hopes to expand

Helping Hands of Vegas Valley provides free services to Las Vegans, 60 and older, who need assistance with daily activities.

“Many of the seniors we service cannot climb the steps,” says program administrator Mary Rodriquez. “They can’t handle the climate and the crime.”

Helping Hands’ programs include transportation for medical appointments and errands, $1,000 vouchers so that caregivers can take time off, and a food bank for low-income seniors.

“We’re different than other services because we also provide them with one-on-one companionship,” Rodriquez says. “Our transportation program is provided by volunteers who stay with the seniors and help them one-on-one and get them home.

“They feel safer and more independent.”

The 501c nonprofit — launched in 2000 and currently staffed by 12 full- and part-time employees — runs on an annual budget of $750,000, 97 percent of which comes from the state’s Division for Aging Services.

But it’s not enough, according to Rodriquez. With its current budget, Helping Hands can afford to serve 1,270 of the 10,000 seniors she estimates need help across the valley. (Services are restricted geographically, with 16 of the area’s 112 ZIP codes qualifying.)

“Our goal is to expand our programs to reach all senior citizens throughout Southern Nevada,” Rodriquez says.

Seniors are referred by other social service or government agencies, or they can call 633-7264. The waiting list for those in qualifying ZIP codes ranges from two to four weeks.

Contact reporter Corey Levitan at clevitan@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0456.

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