Blackfoot center not only for seniors
Yes, the Blackfoot Senior Center still serves lunch.
No, senior citizens don't live there. (There is senior housing across the street.)
Pam Beus, director of the center for about six months, would like to educate members of the community about its function. And, she would like to get ideas about how it can better serve the community.
Seniors, those over 59-and-one-half years old, can buy a nourishing lunch five days a week (excepting holidays) for a donation of $3.50. Other members of the community are welcome to eat for $5.50 per meal.
Some days, noted one visitor who was enjoying his lunch with a friend recently, there's a sizeable group on hand to enjoy the food and the company. Other days there aren't many people on hand.
"Senior centers have been closing down around the country," Beus noted as she discussed what's available in Blackfoot. "As the older people are dying off, the Baby Boomers are not getting involved.
"We're trying to find out what our 50- and 60-year-olds need so we can provide those services," she added.
One thing she wants people around town to know is that they're welcome to come eat any time. In fact, she suggested that the center is another alternative for business lunches and for meetings of service organizations.
"The Senior Center is available to be rented weekday evenings and on Saturdays," she pointed out. "And we have catering services available, too."
With the help of assistant director Ann McCarthy, head cook Tera Young and assistant head cook Valerie Jamison, the staff is trying to ascertain the needs of the community and do its best to fulfill them.
Young and Jamison were at the Shilling House before it closed.
"We also offer transportation services," Beus said, noting the center operates a van which is available to those who need to get to the grocery store, the doctor's office, etc. It is available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
There are activities, both during the day and in the evenings to help keep community members engaged.
"One of our purposes is to decrease the isolation of our seniors," Beus said. "We want to get them more involved in living.
"We're not above expanding into other areas," Beus said. "The facility is available for other uses. If anybody has an idea of what those are, I'm open to ideas."
Last year the center served 28,800 meals, a big portion of them through the Meals on Wheels program.
For more information on the meals, availability of the facilities and to share ideas of what Bingham County's senior citizens mean, call 785-4714.