Midvale Senior Center looking for volunteersJul 01, 2022 08:59AM ● By Peri Kinder
By Peri Kinder | [email protected]
For people looking to make a difference in someone’s life, the Midvale Senior Center wants your help. Located at 7550 South Main Street, the center is bringing back instructors and volunteer staff after cutting back during COVID.
Loriann Warner, manager at the Midvale Senior Center, would love to have a craftsman teach beginning woodcarving or have a historian talk about important world events. Volunteers are also needed to help at the front desk and entertain with live music during lunchtime.
“Volunteers are great,” Warner said. “It helps us out on the financial end because of the limited amount we have to run a senior center, especially the programming piece. Come meet with us if you have a skill.”
With older adults heavily affected by COVID, the centers were shut down for a significant period of time. Because older adults couldn’t come to the center, staff members got creative in finding ways to keep people fed and entertained.
A drive-thru meal program was implemented during COVID to provide meals, and a virtual senior center offered crafts and services. A national award was presented to Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services for adapting programs to meet the needs of its communities.
“Staff and managers created classes that could be taught in a virtual classroom,” Warner said. “The activities were self-guided. Craft kits were put together with all the materials. Photo directions on how to complete the craft were sent to seniors who called and registered for that craft. A lot of work is involved in that. We’re still doing virtual center but not as many classes.”
The Midvale Senior Center is one of only three centers in the county with a cafe on-site. Meals are made from scratch every morning and are ready to serve at 11:30 a.m. for lunch. The cafe director creates meals with fresh meats, vegetables and fruits to provide healthy lunches for older adults who visit the center.
Anyone under 60 can enjoy lunch at the cafe for $8.25, while people over 60 can have lunch for a suggested donation of $4.
“All of us right now are going through a time when we’re seeing our basic living costs going through the roof,” Warner said. “It’s not a choice whether you buy food or not to survive. When you’re on a fixed income, you already make tough choices but right now we’re asking seniors to choose between paying for their medicine and buying food.”
Warner hopes the inexpensive, or free, meals provided at the center can offset some costs older adults are dealing with including increased housing, the lack of subsidized housing and stagnant social security checks.
Isolation is always a challenge for older adults, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic. Social interaction is a key element of mental wellness and gives older adults a reason to get out of bed. Warner said older adults who spend time at the facility create schedules and friendships that add fun to their days.
“A senior center is successful when the people who are coming into the center keep coming into the center, but more importantly, they begin associating outside the center with the people they meet,” Warner said. “That’s connection and we see that a lot.”
Regulars at the center usually start their day with exercise, either at a class offered or in the exercise room. After exercise, older adults can take art classes or educational courses and then it’s time for lunch. For information about the center, or to volunteer, call 385-468-3350 or visit slco.org/midvale-senior-center.
The center will host a free waffle breakfast and bingo event on Friday, July 8, from 8:30-10 a.m. Also, a farmer’s market will be hosted by the Jail Horticulture and Green Urban Lunch Box on Aug. 1 and Aug. 22.
“It’s about eating and socializing,” she said. “COVID highlighted how much we need each other.”