Thursday, May 30, 2024

Give a hand and get involved with your Senior Center

Mike Makes Write


I wrote an article that appeared on Page 1 of the October 4 Quad and broached the possibility of the Pateros-Brewster-Bridgeport Senior Center closing due to shrinking membership, declining participation, and operating costs. I did so in the knowledge that while its closure is not imminent neither is its future secure.

The story initiated the desired results. Readers made inquiries. City officials convened. Discussions were started. Resolutions were proposed. Less than a month later the clear consensus is that the city wants the center to remain a vital part of Brewster.

Those who do not avail themselves of the Pateros-Brewster-Bridgeport Senior Center may be unaware of all the services it provides.
• In 2017 the Center served nearly 6,200 meals and more than 600 delivered to shut-ins. The meals were prepared and delivered by the nonprofit group Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition that also serves meals at senior centers in Twisp, Okanogan, Omak, Tonasket, and Oroville. OCTN also delivers meals to home-bound seniors in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, and Ferry counties.
• More than a few of those over 60 years of age were unable to pay the suggested donation of $4, yet nobody was denied a meal.
• Currently, the Center is operating on reduced hours and is open for lunch three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The meal cost for those under 60 years of age is $8.50, with a suggested $4 donation for those 60 and older.
•  The OCTN bus that serves the Center provided almost 3,600 rides in 2017 and nearly 3,400 of those were for seniors. The bus also logged 12,000 annual miles in monthly rides to Omak and Wenatchee.

To support these and other services the Center charges a modest $10 annual membership fee, has a rummage room that is open on the three lunch days every week, sells ads to local businesses for display at the Center, and collects a nominal fee from OCTN for use of the kitchen facilities.

One of the Center’s past major fundraisers, the Howard Gamble Memorial Golf Tournament, was discontinued this year. The Center has been the recipient of a generous donation from the annual Brewster Salmon Derby for the past two years. Additional support comes from citizens, businesses, and the cities served by the Center.

In the past 13 months at least four community services in the Quad coverage area have permanently or temporarily shuttered.

The Bridgeport Food Bank that served some 200 peoples twice a month lost its lease and closed in September 2017 (Quad, Sept. 21). After being in operation for a quarter century, the food bank shows no signs of reopening.

The Bridgeport American Legion, founded in 1950, announced last July that the chapter is folding its flag this year for lack of membership (Quad, July 5).

The Pateros Chamber of Commerce that counted among its recent noteworthy achievements the replacement of the Pateros Sign, suspended meetings last August (Quad, Sept. 6).

Lake Woods Golf Course, started in 1963 that once boasted half a hundred members, closed its doors on Oct. 21 (Quad, Oct. 11).

The Pateros-Brewster-Bridgeport Senior Center cannot be relegated to the same fate.

Along with Brewster, senior centers operate throughout the county in Twisp, Omak, Okanogan, Tonasket, and Oroville. They are more than just places for old folks to gather. They are an acknowledgement by grateful communities that their aging residents who helped build the area are recognized, respected, and wanted.

If you are free for lunch during the mid-week, why not stop by the Pateros-Brewster-Bridgeport Senior Center, grab a plate and get to know some of the regulars who frequent the place. Put an extra buck or two in the kitty to cover the value of the company. Who knows, you might discover that it’s one of the few spots left in town where you can share a table with classy folks that have a wealth of stories and knowledge to share.

You might even learn something.


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