After attending several Monticello City Council meetings and Jones County Supervisor meetings and hearing updates from the Jones County Senior Dining program, I thought I would attend a local gathering here in Monticello regarding the local Senior Center and the issues Senior Dining is facing.
Now, let’s get something straight right off the bat… Senior Dining is run by the county. It is completely separate from the new Monticello Senior Center. In our town’s case, the Senior Center just happens to house the Senior Dining program. The two are separate entities.
While the dining program has been dealing with regional funding issues, our site manager, Jody Graff, has been forced to unfortunately cut her hours. This means the dining program will run on reduced hours.
However, Graff is not the head of the Senior Center. After attending a meeting on the matter last week, a group of seniors who utilize the dining program and are excited to increase usage of the center, are looking at how they can come together to organize the new center.
Without funding at the moment, it will be a difficult endeavor to begin with. They have to organize as a 501(c)3, which is not an easy task. They have to raise money to fit the canter with necessary items. There is so much to think about at this point and time.
To keep the center open outside of Graff’s hours, it would take several volunteers to dedicate their time to make sure things are running smoothly at the Senior Center. For safety reasons and liability, someone (or a couple of people) needs to be on hand while the center is in operation.
The owners of the John McDonald Medical & Educational Center were generous enough to offer senior citizens in Monticello a place to come to socialize, meet with one another, hold activities and just a place to get out of their homes. With such a great facility, it would be disappointing to see it not being utilized.
If you have any interest at all in being a part of the new Senior Center and all that it could offer in the future, call City Hall at 465-5277. A few weeks ago, City Administrator Doug Herman wrote a column in the Express also seeking volunteers for the Senior Center. He did not receive any requests. If you are at all interested, do not hesitate to call!
This is a great opportunity our seniors have been given! (K.N.B.)