Local generosity has provided a reprieve from financial worries for an Aldergrove senior’s centre providing low-cost, warm meals to its members during the pandemic.
Aldergrove Rotary Club donated $600 to Aldergrove Veterans and Senior’s Society May 7, for their recent venture. It was an amount that purchased a new stock of take-out containers for the meals.
“We did this to ensure that good quality meals continue to be available for Aldergrove seniors at reasonable prices,” explained Rotary president Pauline Buck.
For four decades now, and prior to the COVID-29 pandemic, the senior’s society has provided low-cost, home-style meals for those 55 and older during weekday afternoon socials.
The society made up of 90 seniors was open five days a week. Seniors often popped by and mingle with friends over lunch.
President Kay Jewell estimates upwards of 40 seniors would arrive early at the hall – located at 27247 Fraser Hwy. – to play card games, bingo, and socialize.
“We never knew how many would come but we were always ready with lunches,” Jewell said.
For some members, Jewell said a lunch was enough to extend into two meals, eliminate the work of cooking that day.
But the pandemic has changed everything – including where seniors are eating their food.
In these times, there has been no lively banter bellowing over a warm meal. No cheering over a bingo game won.
Seniors – a population at high risk for dire effects from contracting COVID – have largely been isolated in their homes.
That said, the centre’s weekly hours have been cut down to accommodate meal pick ups only.
Seniors must now call ahead, reserve their meal, which costs $8, and take it away to eat at home.
Seniors centre predicts future financial struggles
The society is worried about its future, its president admitted.
Historically, the society’s costs have been subsidized by BC Gaming, partially funded by $20 annual membership fees.
But with the closure of B.C. casinos, it’s expected that funding to the centre will be pulled, she said.
And if overhead costs are not covered, the president worries that the society may be forced to hike up meal prices.
“We are trying our best to keep costs as low as possible for our seniors,” Jewell emphasized.
“Until we can’t do it any longer, we will continue to provide much-needed meals to these seniors.”
Cheryl Clark, a former professional caterer, has continued to prepare and provide the food.
Her daily menu includes ham with pineapple, scalloped potatoes, and carrots, with lemon snow for dessert. Other afternoons, it’s roast beef and chicken with all the trimmings.
Frozen dinners, $5, such as lasagna or meat loaf, and homemade soups, $3, are also available at the centre.
– With files from Pauline Buck