I was sorry to read more negative coverage of the Forest Grove Senior & Community Center (“Exodus underscores senior center tensions,” News-Times, Aug. 6 issue). It is such a special place!

I retired after 37 years at Pacific University and decided to dedicate time to volunteering. I have spent many hours working on Senior Center bazaars, First Friday dinners, teas, gift shop, and any other activity where help was needed. Those experiences allowed me to be at the center daily for weeks at a time, so I have had a chance to observe the great people who frequent the center and the wonderful activities and services offered for our community — especially for seniors.

I think it’s worth noting that most of what occurs at the FGSCC involves volunteer effort. There is hardly an activity that does not involve loving effort and commitment from people who just want to be helpful and want to see the center succeed.

Ninety-nine percent of Senior Center and Loaves & Fishes volunteers park in the parking lot and walk to the door unless they have to briefly park by the door to load or unload. I’m sorry the recent article focused on two (very faithful) volunteers who seem to have suddenly put long periods of convenient parking above shut-ins who need meals delivered to their homes. In any case, it’s not what I like hearing about the Senior Center!

I’m only a volunteer, but I invite you to come and visit. There are several community members who arrange rides to spend their day at the center. They are able to escape solitude, visit with friends, stop in the gift shop, avoid the heat, enjoy a hot meal and participate in weekly activities offered by the center. Others come for bingo or First Friday dinners to enjoy an evening away from home.

Several folks stop in to find bread or fresh produce on days it is donated. Some sign up for the monthly foot clinic while others come to play bridge or pinochle or sew, knit, or quilt with friends. You can make new friends! The activities are varied. On one end of the spectrum is monthly food distribution for eligible low-income citizens. At the other, a fundraising mayor’s dinner. You can catch a bus to the casinos, take a tai chi class, or join a photography club. If you are feeling down, there is a depression support group. The center has a guitar class, a singing group, and a fitness class, or you can join the local gem club. The center has an on-site seamstress and sales sponsored by the gift shop each season. On Fridays you can enjoy a reasonably priced breakfast. There are memorial services for local citizens, Medicare information meetings and hearing aid clinics. You can rent the center for special occasions. The list goes on and on.

With all these valuable services and activities, I hope more folks will volunteer, participate in an activity of interest, or simply stop by to check out the facility. It really is a vital part of Forest Grove.

The center now has an enthusiastic and energetic new director to help the facility move forward. She has a bright smile, a proven track record working with seniors and connections to the local community.

I wish I had been reading more about what an exciting time this is for the Senior & Community Center, and less about two disgruntled volunteers!

Roberta (Bobbi) Nickels lives in Forest Grove.

Contract Publishing

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