Fundraiser has goal to make improvements to Mineola Senior Citizen Center facilities

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The Mineola Senior Citizen Center, on the corner of McDonald and University Dr., is having a fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 18, from 11-3 to raise money for building repairs and updates. A lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, chips and a drink, and delicious cakes and pies will be available for purchase by donation.

Several area businesses and individuals have partnered with the senior center by donating items for the silent auction. A beautiful hand-made quilt from the Mineola League of the Arts, gift certificates, a massage, gift baskets and more will be up for grabs.

The services the Senior Center provides are priceless, but their needs are not. Consistent financial support and community involvement is needed to keep the facility safe and comfortable for those who depend on the center. 

The building was donated as a gift from the Meredith Foundation in 1999, but they have gotten no government funding. Occasionally, they receive gifts from donors including an anonymous $85 a month.

With the money from the fundraiser, they hope to get signage for the building, a phone system, and new lighting. The air conditioning unit has gone out twice this year and needs to be replaced. 

The floor is ripped up by the door and poses a health hazard to many of the seniors. The walls have water damage and need to be repainted, and the yearly $1,000 insurance premium is due. Additionally, they’d like to have the funds in reserve to pay someone to clean the building twice a month and to mow the lawn. 

The center provides a place for seniors to pursue mutual interests, receive services, and take part in activities that enhance their quality of life, support their independence and encourage their involvement in the community. The fellowship is invaluable to the participants that spend their time there. Connection with others keep them busy and active. 

Linda Morgan, the social chairman and a regular at the center, enjoys organizing and planning the center’s monthly themed parties. Her parties include birthday parties for the other regulars and holiday festivities. She comes to the center to socialize and to be part of a community. 

“We are family here,” says Morgan, who comes to play card games with her friends. She encourages the younger generations to visit them at the center and learn to play card games  with them, too.

Linda Ray, the “baby senior” as she calls herself, has been coming to the center for 14 years. In 2005, she was searching for a worthy cause to be involved with and found her place at the Senior Citizen Center. She is now the president.

Marie Kerry is 92 years old and has been coming to the center since it was opened. From 1982-84, she was the manager of Mineola Meals on Wheels and remained active in the program for as long as she could. Now, she gets her lunch at the senior center four days a week. She says the center provides a social outlet that she wouldn’t have otherwise. You can usually find her at a table playing Rummicube with her friend, Ms. Jan. 

The center relies heavily on volunteer support. Carol Cassity, treasurer of the senior citizen center, knows the importance of the center from the impact it made on her. When she retired in 2008, she began volunteering there. After losing her husband and son, she found comfort and a support system with the senior citizens. She said that it was hard for her younger friends to understand her loss, but her elderly friends had experienced much of the same. 

“They’re so loving and kind. Their community has gotten small because they’ve lost so many,” says Cassity.

Margaret McBride, another dependable volunteer has spent many hours working at the center and gathering donations for the upcoming fundraiser. 

“We learn so much from the elderly and they do so much for all of us growing up. I want to give back to that generation. I just really enjoy spending time with them,” says McBride.

Bert Cox, the center’s board secretary, also delivers meals for the Meals on Wheels program that operates out of the building. The Meals on Wheels satellite location uses part of the building and pays the utilities. 

Angie Malone, manager of the Mineola Meals on Wheels, says that in addition to needing volunteers for the senior center, volunteers are always needed to deliver meals. They have 25 volunteers servicing five routes and providing about 40 plates a day to the elderly in Mineola. 

Volunteers and community support is absolutely necessary to keep the senior center available to the seniors who come to feel needed, wanted and connected.

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