WESTFIELD – The city’s older adults continue to utilize the Westfield Senior Center and Council on Aging during the pandemic.
From curbside lunches and outdoor events to assistance by phone, the Center has remained active as much as possible said Director Tina Gorman. The Center remains financially viable, however the Friends of the Senior Center, which provides programming and “extras,” has had to cancel some events that benefit the group.
One of the biggest events of the year, the Holiday Gala, was canceled this year. The Friends group benefits each year from a lottery raffle during the Gala. Gorman said this year, the lottery fundraiser will be curbside and the holiday celebrations will also continue as a drive-up event.
“The lottery ticket fundraiser was typically held during our annual Holiday Gala. As we have done with other special events during the past seven months, we’re adding some fun to our curbside meal program,” Gorman said. “Perhaps working around the pandemic will result in the creation of some new Senior Center traditions.”
This year, the Friends of the Westfield Senior Center will be holding a special drawing with the winner receiving a Christmas box filled with both holiday giving, as well as receiving, in mind. Among the gift bags and tags, scotch tape, tissue paper and boxed Christmas cards, there will be $100 worth of lottery tickets. The cost is $5 for a sheet of 25 tickets. Tickets may be purchased during the daily curbside meal pickup Nov. 9 – 25. The winning name will be drawn on Thanksgiving Day and the person will be notified on Monday, Nov. 30.
Gorman asked that purchasers have their money, with exact change, ready if they wish to participate. Those who would like to purchase tickets but are not getting a lunch should plan to arrive at the Senior Center between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m. when meal pickup is ending and the line moves quickly
“The lottery is absolutely open to the public,” Gorman noted.
The mission of the Friends group is to expand and enhance Council on Aging programs and services. Gorman said during the pandemic, the Friends group has provided funds for a wide variety of both entertainment as well as fitness classes on Channel 15.
“They also funded a new beverage center which was installed in the Senior Center Great Room last month. Senior Center participants will have several new beverage choices to look forward to when we open the doors to the public again down the road,” said Gorman.
Gorman said keeping Senior Center costs down is a priority.
“As much as possible, we have always tried to keep our programs and services affordable for the city’s older adults,” she said. “The noon meal remains at the pre-COVID $3 price, despite the added cost of the to-go containers. I have written a few grants to help with those costs. The area where we’ve struggled is fitness.”
Gorman said fitness participants pay a nominal fee for classes at the Senior Center and that is a break-even arrangement for the Center.
“During the pandemic, we have worked closely with the city’s Media Systems Specialist Pete Cowles to get as much fitness programming on our local cable channel as possible. Many seniors are taking advantage of the these programs in the comfort of their own homes and at no charge to them,” Gorman said. “The Friends group has helped tremendously by paying the instructors for their efforts. Starting this month, we have seven different fitness programs on Westfield’s cable Channel 15. There is at least one class offered daily every day of the week, including weekends.”
Gorman said the community can help by supporting the lottery raffle and through a Lifetime membership to the Friends of the Westfield Senior Center. The cost is $100 per individual. For more information on the Friends group, contact Gorman at 413-562-6435.