Franklin County Senior Center receives funding to remain open, seeks volunteers
The Franklin County Senior Center is taking orders for Thanksgiving pies and rolls. Thanks to the generosity of the community and a couple of large donors, the center has been able to purchase the equipment necessary to kept the center open.
Carol Parker, director of the center for the last 25 years, is happy. Last month, she and her small staff had come to the conclusion that there was no way they could meet the needs of the people they cook for without new equipment.
“Something has got to change or we’ve got to close,” said Parker at the time.
“We’ve been able to run fine with those who haven’t paid until these things started breaking down, but we can’t keep up,” she said. Payment for meals is on a voluntary basis. Volunteers deliver 1,068 meals to 100 homebound residents around the county.
Despite the support the center receives from the county, Preston City and patrons of the fundraisers the center holds, they couldn’t keep up with equipment breakdowns.
The center’s stove, the two ovens, microwave and dough mixer were either broken running on their last leg.
But the public rallied around the center over the last six weeks and provided more than enough funds for new equipment to be purchased. The extra is going towards fixing a hole in the floor of the building and new carpet, said Parker.
Parker also thanks those who offered used equipment for their generosity, but explained that the condition of one of the biggest donors was that new equipment be purchased so the center did not find itself in the same predicament in a couple of years.
The new equipment is all installed, except for the mixer, which shipped without a bread-mixing hook. Parker is hoping the old machine will mix on until that hook arrives.
The other equipment has been installed just in time for the center to begin its biggest fund-raiser of the year: baking for Thanksgiving dinners.
In addition to the rolls, pies and other baked goods the Paker and her volunteers bake for anyone wanting them for their own Thanksgiving meals, the center sponsors an annual Thanksgiving Business Meal Fundraiser.
Parker thanked the “community dearly for all the donations we got. It’s been wonderful,” she said. “People thought that the county paid for everything,” said Parker, speculating as to why the public has been slow to support the meals for seniors and shut-ins in the past.
Franklin County provides some funding and insurance to the center; Preston City provides some funding, as well. The center depends on donations and support of their fund-raisers to finish making ends meet.
Parker was especially happy with the families of patrons that came forward - even some whose loved ones have passed on, but who “knew that was what their mother or father would want them to do,” she said.
“We’re here to stay. If anyone knows of someone who needs home-delivered meals, have them give us a call and we’ll go visit with them,” she said.
The center always needs volunteers to either help cook or to help deliver food on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from about 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. “They don’t have to be there whole time,” said Parker.
In the immediate future, she is hoping for volunteers to “help peel potatoes and yams, cut up fruit, prepare pies and bag rolls, then deliver them to different businesses in Preston between Nov. 12 - 21, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Senior Community Center, 64 West First South, Preston. “Come when you can during any of those days and times,” invited Parker.