Senior centers need volunteers

Staff writer

Senior centers around the county are always looking for volunteers to help deliver and serve meals, but some are hurting for volunteers more than others.

“We have several people in the summer who take vacations,” Hillsboro director Brenda Moss said. “We like to have backups that can help give volunteers time off.”

Marion and Hillsboro senior centers are looking to add volunteers to their call lists in case a volunteer is absent or sick, but the situation is more critical in Peabody.

Peabody Senior Center has long relied on volunteers. For several decades, volunteers have donated hundreds of hours to remodel the interior on a couple of occasions, replace or upgrade utilities, and change ceiling tile and flooring.

Members and volunteers have sponsored meals, cookouts, and brunches. They have raised money by baking 800 pounds of peppernuts a year and by pulling thousands of stitches through quilt fabric. They have delivered hundreds of meals to people who can no longer drive or who are recovering after a health issue.

Volunteers help at the center every day and have been doing so since its inception in the 1970s.

“We have wonderful people who come in and help with all kinds of projects,” site manager Ruth Lott said. “Right now we seem to be in need of some new blood, and we’d like to put out an invitation for new volunteers.”

Former cook Kim Nellans has returned to the kitchen at the senior center.

“We are thrilled to have her back,” Lott said. “But we are short-handed and we need to get a few more people in here to help with the noon meal.”

Lott said that only Nellans cooks, but volunteers are needed to package meals-on-wheels each day, set tables, serve food and drinks, clear tables, and wash and dry dishes.

“We encourage volunteers to sign up just for a day or two each week or month,” she said. “We don’t really want them to sign up to be here day after day. They get burned out, and then we need to start looking all over again.

“We start getting ready about 10 a.m., the meal begins at 11:45, and we are through by 12:15 or 12:30. It is fun and not a stressful job,” she said.

Lott said she appreciated people who sign up for one or two days a week then stick with it so the center staff knows they will be there.

“If we had someone to come in one or two days a month, that would work as well,” she said.

She said the center did not need help delivering meals.

High school students who have turned 14 are welcome.

“There might be some youngsters out there who could use a community service project for a college application or something,” she said. “Helping here at the center would certainly qualify.”

The Area Agency on Aging in Manhattan provides a base salary for the cook. All other expenses belong to the center, and money must be raised to cover extras, including supplementing Nellans’ salary. The center will need to come up with fundraisers other than the annual peppernut baking project to meet its budget.

“We hope we can get some volunteers to bring in fresh fundraising ideas and offer some assistance,” Lott said.

More information is available. (620) 983-2226.

Quantcast