EDMOND — With the help of the community, the Edmond Senior Center has been able to continue a meal program even though state money for it was cut.
The cut occurred three years ago, and the program was discontinued for six months before it was restarted with help from local businesses, churches, schools and other sources.
“They felt like if they had to cut their funding, the Edmond community was one site they could cut and we would survive,” center manager Gail Deaton said.
“They didn't understand that just because you're in an upper-middle-class community with a lot of professionals with higher educations, that doesn't mean there aren't people within that community that are on a fixed income. That's the part that was frustrating for us, that they didn't quite get that.”
Two women who have been participating in the center's activities for a little more than 20 years said the center is an important place for seniors for various reasons.
“When you're new in town, that's the best way to meet people,” Alma Bolvin said.
Stan Noxon has experienced this. “I've been coming here nine years. I moved to Edmond to be near family and came straight (to the center),” he said.
Bolvin and Helena Winters began coming to the center to volunteer.
“But 20 some years later we're really just too old,” Bolvin said. “We have to have someone bring us our meals now.”
When the seating for lunch starts at 11:15 a.m., seniors who require assistance can pick up a small flag to place in front of their seats that indicates they need their meal brought to them.
More than a meal
Bolvin, Noxon and Winters also participate in the card game, bridge.
“We come here to socialize,” Noxon said. “Always have and always will.”
Deaton said the meal program attracts people who would otherwise be idle at home.
“If they're up here socializing, they're getting a hot meal, they may participate in the exercise program — we're saving them money in that as well,” Deaton said.
“They need a place to hang out; they need to keep their minds active. We want to keep them in the present as much as possible. We don't want them sitting at home sinking back into the past.”
People age 55 or older are welcome.
“At the time that they sign up, we can take their picture and make them a membership card,” she said. “At that time, they're asked if they want to make a $12 per year donation. They don't have to. Most of them do, and it allows us to do basic things to keep up the building.”
The meal program is the same: It has a suggested price of $2.50, and those who eat can choose to put money in the box or not.
“There is no pressure that they have to walk in the door with money,” Deaton said.
The lunches are served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and are provided by Carson's Catering.
“As you can see, it is pretty healthy looking today,” Bolvin said, looking at her lunch recently. “Normally, they are very healthy. They feed us pretty well.”
Edmond Senior Center is at 2733 Marilyn Williams Drive. For more information or to make a donation, call 216-7600.