BELTON (July 30, 2013)--Belton has had a senior program since the 1970s and in the 1980s, seniors raised money to build a senior center, but over the years it was becoming too costly to maintain the facility, Patsy Cofer, the center’s activities director, says.
Then two years ago, there were serious issues with the building and some local businesses stepped in to help.
The center gets a small amount of funding from the City of Belton and the United Way, but the rest of the budget, which is about $65,000, is from fundraisers and donations.
Support from businesses has alleviated some of the expenses for activities, such as pot luck, bingo and celebrating birthdays.
On Tuesday the center held a health and wellness fair and invited the businesses to come out and market themselves.
"The vendors that are here today at the health fair help us with those activities," said Cofer.
When businesses donate items for activities at the center, they aren't allowed to advertise, so the fair gave them a chance to put a name with their generous donation, said Cofer.
Seniors had screenings for blood pressure, pulse, oxygen, blood sugar, balance, depression and more.
Some had their pictures taken with a cut-out "Elvis Presley" and door prize drawings were held hourly.
"This is their play house," said Cofer looking around the center.
"This is where they come to play cards, visit and dance. We have a very active dance group and have a couple of dances monthly with live bands."
There is another group called Citizens for Soldiers.
Those seniors write personalized notes and send care packages to soldiers who are in harm’s way.
"We have one senior that has written over 5,000 notes to soldiers," said Cofer.
The center also has a nutrition program operated through the center called Help Community Action, which delivers meals to the community.
An on-site chef cooks meals every day for about 125 home deliveries and for the 30 to 40 seniors who visit the center on any given day for lunch.