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Fredonia Senior Citizens’ Center kicks off festive season

The Senior Center in Fredonia is well loved by its visitors and at­tendees for a number of reasons - perhaps the greatest of which is the homemade fresh meals provided every day. Sonya Kimball, the Center’s director and head chef, has years of experience in the food service industry - she’s cooked at Houston’s Trail’s End, Frostop and more in the years beyond that - and she puts that experience to work serv­ing the older folks of the Fredonia area. “They sure appreciate us out here,” says Kimball. “Especially since COVID we have lots of people calling us up and thanking us for what we do.” She’s been working with the Senior Center for twenty-nine years.

Valentines was a good time - now on to St. Paddies preparations! Photo by Brooke Kimball.

The Senior Center feeds an average of around forty people a day, providing a full meal for four dollars for qualifying seniors. Ac­cording to the staff, those numbers are trending a little higher since COVID isolation, “on busier days we’ll feed around seventy people.”

According to Brooke Kimball of the senior center staff - and Sonya’s daughter-in-law, hence the shared name - “We were delivering around seventy meals a day dur­ing COVID, but nobody came into the center. We’re still trying to re­cover the people who come and eat in; it’s slowed down a lot as people have gotten into the habit of staying home.” The Senior Center is funded by private donations and government programs - some of which rely on in-person attendance numbers. One of the ways the Center is still working on recovery from the CO­VID era is restoring those eat-in numbers for the sake of remaining valid for those grants.

For qualifying seniors, eating in costs just four dollars for a meal, “and they’re huge portions too, it’s not just some caf­eteria food or microwave dinner,” says Brooke. Non-senior visitors can come eat-in too, for eight dollars instead. According to the Kimballs, it’s sig­nificantly cheaper than having the food delivered, “of course we still deliver to anywhere in our service area, but the prices of those deliveries have gone way up with the prices of gas and paperware.”

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“We’ll keep delivering,” says Sonya. “When we deliver to homebound folks, it’s more than just a food service - it’s a chance to check on people who aren’t always regularly checked on. We’ve had times when we were the ones to call an ambulance when something wasn’t right with someone. It’s one of the best and worst parts of this job: I’ve had a lot of amazing friends, and I’ve lost a lot of amaz­ing friends.”

The social element of the center is one of its focuses beyond good nu­trition. It provides access to board games, puzzles, virtual sports, exercise equipment - check out fit­ness classes on Thursday mornings! - and even live entertainment on occa­sion. According to Sonya, one of the highlights of working at the center is the holiday festivities. “Our Seniors often get dressed up and come have a good time - they love Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day.”

Some of the Valentine’s festivities will be featured along with this piece, and the Center staff invited anyone interested to at­tend the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In the con­clusion of the interview, Sonya said, “We want to give a big thank you to the Town of Fredonia and its administration; a lot of the reason this place is still functioning is because of the support of the town and the Town Office.”

In addition to the fund­ing straight from the town budget, the Town Office also accepts private dona­tions from those looking to contribute to the Senior Center’s operations.




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