The West Plains Senior Center, 416 E. Main St., has painted its dining room and now plans to update lighting to add LED light bulbs to brighten the halls.
The projected cost of the updates is $850 for 100 bulbs. Senior center officials are collecting donations, tax-deductible, to make the project possible.
Donations can be left in the office or in the drop box on the boardroom door. Checks should be made payable to the West Plains Senior Center, with “bulbs” written on the memo line.
The facility is also is kicking off its new Wellness Program and introducing a Wellness Library for patrons. To do this, the center has put a call out for donations of books on health topics, cookbooks with healthy recipes or any health-related materials. Those interested in donating MAY contact Wellness Coordinator Anita King, 256-4055.
The latest development is just one more in a long list of services and activities the center offers to community members of all ages, including low-priced meals, hobby groups, classes, exercise and health programs and Friday afternoon bingo games, which also serve as a fundraiser for the center.
Check-in for bingo starts at 12:30 p.m. Fridays, with games starting at 1:30 p.m. and offering a $500 jackpot, said King. All ages are welcome to play.
Lunches, served from 11:15 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays at the senior center, are likewise available to all ages. Patrons age 60 and older are asked to pay $3 per plate donation, while those younger than 60 are asked to pay $6.
On March 4, 1974, SeniorAge (Area Agency on Aging) began working with the city of West Plains, which still owns the building today, to operate the senior center, eventually introducing home-delivered meals and the OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) Program. The home-delivered meal program began in 1998 when the state of Missouri received funding to support it.
In July, 1,134 people were served meals at the center, and 5,640 home-delivered meals were served.
“Each month the number of meals increases,” said King. “Our goal is to help seniors live independently for as long as possible.”
Meal preparation and deliveries are carried out by volunteers, who King calls “a great asset. In addition cooking and serving the meals, volunteers assist in the kitchen, work in the office, sew, quilt and help engage patrons in activities.
“We could not operate without these volunteers and continually need more,” said King. She added that the center is thankful for partnerships with West Plains High School, the city of West Plains, Ozark Independent Living, Ozark Action, MERS Goodwill, home health agencies and churches within the community.
The West Plains Senior Center is a local SeniorAge facility and has been a member of the Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce since 2011. SeniorAge, based in Springfield, operates facilities in 17 Missouri counties and is one of 10 such agencies in the state. The agency employs five paid staff at the West Plains center, and more than 50 volunteers.
The senior center is supported by a board of directors whose primary responsibility is to raise funds to support the building’s operations and senior center programs, King explained. Members oversee assets such as furnishings, the salad bar, coffee and tea, napkins, cleaning supplies and other essentials.
Members of the board include President Larry Lindeman, Vice President Richard Gallavan, Treasurer Glenda Watson, Treasurer Anita Peoples, Lucas Tabor and Sherry Lindeman.
Funding for the senior center is made possible by the Department of Health and Senior Services, via the state of Missouri, which channels the funds to Area Agencies on Aging.