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Expanding their reach

Senior Center looks to add services


After a year of being shut down due to COVID-19, the Hot Springs Senior Center is opening its doors to the public once again. When the center first opened back in 1976, it was the place to be, according to board president Lyn Sheldon.

“It was always bustling with people,” Sheldon said. “This place was full of dancing, music and potlucks. Now we have a hard time getting people involved.”

When the center reopened March 17, Sheldon saw a considerable drop in people they served.

“Before COVID-19, we were serving around 30 people a week; now we will maybe see 15,” she said.

The Hot Springs Senior Center has the capability and resources to serve; now they just need people. Because of this, Sheldon is focusing her energy not just on seniors, but the rest of the community as well.

“People are under the impression that you have to be a senior to come in,” she said. “What people don’t know is that we are also a community center and we are open to everyone of all ages.”

Sheldon has tried incorporating different game nights to encourage people to come visit, including Bingo and Pinochle.

“We are Pinochle fanatics around here,” Sheldon said. “It’s hard to get re-energized after being shut down for a year, but I am happy the center has opened back up.”

Sheldon has been board president for the last three years and says the board of directors is all volunteer based and almost at full operating capacity with 10 members. With help from the $10,000 COVID relief they received, board members were able to do some much-needed updates to the center before opening again.

“We fixed and repaired the outside of the building, resurfaced the floors, we bought new curtains, and we bought a new dishwasher,” Sheldon said. “We got everything done on the list we needed to get done, and it was a nice bonus after no income for the last year.”

To help supplement the center’s income, Sheldon highlighted the Korner Boutique, a rummage of gently used clothing and household items located in the center. The boutique is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 1-3 p.m.. While they have stopped taking donations for now, Sheldon says there’s something in there for everyone, even the younger crowd.

The center does various fundraisers throughout the year, and they will be participating in Homesteader Days by serving “walking tacos.” They are also planning a BBQ fundraiser in August. Sheldon said with help from Sanders County Coalition of Aging (COA), they’ve been able to stay in pretty good shape with finances.

“The COA helps cover heating and the meals-on-wheels service we provide,” she said. The center serves meals every Wednesday and the first and third Friday of every month.

“We have a lot of our best customers in the summer,” Sheldon said. “A lot of people come over from Symes Hot Springs, which is why we decided to open on Saturdays. We’re just trying to get back to normal.”

For more information on any of the senior center's program, call (406) 741-2343. The center is located at 101 Main Street in Hot Springs.


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