Ice cream social!
The word "social" plainly denotes a gathering or party and "ice cream" is self-explanatory and always tempting. And it was to be held at the developing Kingwood Senior Center. How could I resist such an invitation?
At my last visit there, the center was little more than a floor plan holding the furnishings of the former Good Samaritan Center. I knew of the volunteers who have been diligently working at remodeling, but I was pleasantly surprised when two walked into the reception room and found the Geritol's band playing and seniors dancing to music!
My friend, Helen Malen and I watched for a bit, then took the elevator downstairs to the kitchen and dining room. We thoroughly enjoyed the ice cream and their popular doughnuts that are freshly made by Muggs Christensen and her crew beginning at 4 a.m. each Thursday and ordered in advance by many local business offices for their coffee breaks.
Diane Hoglin (left), administrative assistant, and Maria Prozinski, executive director of the Crow Wing County United Way, talked in their new office on the fourth floor of the Kingwood Community Offices on Kingwood in Brainerd. (Dispatch Photo Steve Kohls)
From there we took the elevator up to the fourth floor to visit Diane Hoglin in her new office as United Way secretary. She's The Dispatch food columnist whose picture you see each Thursday. I suspect she also had a hand in the decorative wall we saw in the office.
It was a carefully calculated decision to utilize those third and fourth floor rooms for office space as long as they were limited to non-profit organizations. All are tax-exempt and pay a user fee to cover the cost of utilities. These are the office renters.
Our next visit was in the Great Hall, a room that has even more square footage than the current first floor. The size of it is awe-inspiring and it will be utilized for larger senior activities such as card parties, bingo days, Thursday dances and the doughnut kitchen which opens out into that room. It will also be available for anniversary parties, birthdays and even for funeral receptions. There will be a small maintenance fee for usage by community members and senior citizens. There will also be a computer lab for seniors or other groups, but not for individuals. There are two other smaller classrooms on the north end of the building and one on the east side.
This 90-year-old building has plenty of space to accommodate many activities, but now it needs furnishings. Wells Fargo and Lakewood banks have donated office furniture, Floor to Ceiling Store and Northwest Carpet One gave carpeting and Brainerd Hardwood some ash paneling. There's a need for furniture for the reception area or the living room, as Jill Waller calls it. It will feature a TV set, a library of books, and a game table and hopefully, sofas and arm chairs to give it a homey atmosphere.
All donations are gratefully accepted and there is an organized effort to obtain grants in addition to funds from the community. Mary Whitlock and Reed Campbell are soliciting donations and members are urged to do the same. Out of 1200 members, only 420 have donated. Any amount is welcome, no matter how small.
The present finances total $75,000 and the hope is for $100,000 from the membership.
The present Senior Center has been very generous in donating doughnuts to the Cancer Society Relay For Life, Grad Blast and the Girl Scouts. Jill Waller, the energetic and efficient director of the center had this to say, "In its own way, the center has supported the community and hopes now to gain community support in return."
She reminds the younger peole that if they can donate now, they can be assured of a beautiful, active Senior Center when they are ready to retire. Send all tax-deductible donations to Lakes Area Senior Activity Center, 213 So. 5th St., Brainerd, MN 56401. Jill has also enjoyed hearing stories from seniors who were born in the Kingwood building when it was the Northwestern Hospital and others who had lived in the Kingwood Apartments before it became a nursing home in 1963. These seniors will be able to capture fond memories as they enjoy the remodeled Senior Center.
And now that we've given you food for thought, why not stop into the present senior center and enjoy food for the appetite at an unbelievably low price? The Host Nutrition Site is under the direction of Rose Peterson and she not only supervises the daily meals, but she has very efficiently organized the Meals on Wheels program so that hot and nourishing meals are delivered daily to 110 homebound seniors. All drivers are volunteers and seem to thoroughly enjoy their charitable trips. This entire nutrition program will be continued at the Kingwood Center.
There will be a Rummage Sale at Kingwood Center on Friday, Oct. 20 for Center members only and another sale on Oct. 21 and 22 for the general public. More details forthcoming.
With the help of all of you Golden Agers, this beautiful new Center shall truly be a Golden Galaxy and you shall be the stars!
(The author is a member of the Senior Class Advisory Board.)
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