Senior center celebrates 31st birthday

February 11, 2013 10:20 am

As time goes by we have a tendency to look back over the years and wonder, what have I done to make a difference in the community where I live?

Through the good fortune of time, place and generational gumption, I had the opportunity to work with the early planners and organizers who developed the Union County Senior Center (today sometimes called the Community Center). 

After many months of grant writing, money-making projects and solicitations of local donations, the permanent doors were opened in February 1982. Prior to the completion of the senior center, the elder meal program was without a home — always moving from one available kitchen and dining space to the next.

The City of La Grande is fortunate to have this facility with so much to offer everyone. The tasty homemade lunches are served five days a week starting at noon, with live music on all of those days starting at 11 a.m. Birthday celebrations, cookie and cake walks, pinochle games, bridge, bingo, line dancing, low-income services, driving safety classes, health screenings, monthly dances, Meals on Wheels, foot care clinics, catering and meeting spaces are just a small part of what is offered at the center. 

The center is geared for everyone, not just for those of us who are retired.

Annual events include the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers Show and Spaghetti Feed, the Blue Mountain Timber Cruisers Car Show and the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. Holiday and special occasion gift cards are available at any time.

Being good neighbors 

It’s fun to walk in the door and be greeted by old friends and meet new ones. The stories and tall tales inspire reminiscences of simpler days when people invested more time in being good neighbors. What a relaxing
way to spend a few hours each day, nourishing the body and reaffirming the spirit.

Over the years, a lot of good things for the community have sprung from our initial vision. Today, AARP holds a chapter meeting here monthly, we offer tax aid services to people free of charge, class reunions meet here, we have Gourmet Meals to Go for those who are busy but still want a good home-cooked meal, we do catering, boxed lunches for meetings here or there — you name it, we can make it happen. 

We offer a large array of services to low-income folks in Union County right here as well, from energy assistance, weatherization, rental assistance, budgeting and parenting classes. 

Don’t forget that we have a beautiful space for rent. We have rented our building for weddings, receptions, birthday parties and retirement parties. All proceeds benefit senior programs in Union County, and we rely on community support to continue to provide these valuable services.

As the center approaches its 31st birthday, the time seems right to invite you to come enjoy this facility we worked so hard to build. You will find that it has indeed been time well spent, and I am very proud to have been a part of the history making this center a reality for the entire community. Leaving your legacy is something that will stand the test of all time, and I have definitely left mine. 

Esther Hofmann is budget
committee chairman at the
Union County Senior Center.