Southwick Senior Center resumes classes, makes special deliveries

Sandy Steward and Walter Deyo get a fist bump and goody bag from Southwick Senior Center staff member Denise Hills-McGarry July 16, 2020. (MARC ST. ONGE/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

SOUTHWICK – The Southwick Senior Center staff misses its regular visitors and last week began delivering goody bags to some area residents and this week is bringing back some classes.

Since Town Hall and the Senior Center closed due to the coronavirus pandemic nearly four months ago, Council on Aging Director Cindy Sullivan has been working to safely bring back some programs. The popular exercise classes offered at the Center were missed by participants and staff alike. Last month, some were brought back online and on July 22, some classes will resume in person outside at Town Hall, 454 College Highway.

Classes are all at 9 am.

“We are excited to offer some outdoor classes with strict social distancing guidelines in place,” said Sullivan. “Each person will have a 7×6-foot block they must stay in.  Only 12 participants are allowed for each class.”

Participants must sign up weekly to make it fair to everyone, Sullivan said.  “We are not sure what the turnout will be although line dancing sign ups were full the first day for the first week.”

Classes are free to participating seniors. Classes will run for five weeks and staff will assess as time goes on.

“Participants must  wear a mask until the class begins and exit immediately following the class,” Sullivan said. “We are hoping people come and follow the guidelines as to keep everyone and themselves safe while trying to do an activity that hasn’t been offered since early March.”

In addition to seeing regular Senior Center visitors during classes, staff wanted to let seniors know they are missed by delivering goody bags.

Deliveries began July 16 and Sullivan plans to continue delivering bags and greeting seniors throughout the summer.

“We have seven weeks of groups,” said Sullivan, “two of the larger groups will do a driv- by through the parking here to receive their goody bag and the other five groups will get a visit from us.  This includes about 120 people we haven’t seen.”

Sullivan and her staff decorated the van with a sign letting everyone know how much they are missed.

“The staff have been working hard to stay engaged with our seniors.,” she said. “Our building remains closed, but we are working hard to make connections and stay in touch with people.”

A schedule of classes, which are free thanks to assistance from the Southwick Rotary Club, can be found at southwickma.org. Online classes can still be viewed on the town cable channel 15.

Registration for in person classes is required by calling 413-569-5498 .

To Top