Tonganoxie senior citizens say participation lagging
There's a lot going on at Florence Riford Senior Center.
But the problem is there should be more people enjoying those goings on, according to active members of the group.
"It's really getting sad," said Frances Korb. "And I think Tonganoxie ought to wake up. I don't know what to do."
It used to be, Korb said, that it took three long tables in the center's dining room to seat all those who came for lunch each day.
"Now we only have from six to 15 at the most people dining," Korb said.
Agnes Kissinger, president of the club, agreed. She noted that many of those who previously participated have died.
The senior center, 530 Bury, used to have a bus that would drive around the area and pick up the seniors for lunch.
"People would come from Linwood and all around here," Korb said.
However, she added that the center still delivers about 30 carryout meals a day to those who are unable to get out.
"It's a wonderful thing for them," Korb said. Meals can be delivered to residents of rural areas, as well as in Tonganoxie. Also, she noted that if the residents need a ride to get to the center, transportation will be provided.
"We used to use a bus to pick people up," Korb said.
Now, the center employs cars.
She agreed with Kissinger that death had taken its toll on the membership and said that some members have moved into nursing homes or to other towns to be closer to their families.
Also, Korb said, she thought pride might keep some residents away.
"It's not a handout," she said. "People think, oh, those meals are for the poor people. But some of the most wealthy people eat down there."
Besides providing balanced meals, another purpose of the center is to get people out of the house for awhile.
"I'm living alone now and I go home and the house just feels better after I've been with people," Korb said.
Friday afternoon, four women put the finishing stitches into a queen-size quilt. Clearly, as they chatted and laughed together, they were having fun.
Frances Jeannin, Jarbalo, paused from her stitching.
"I think more people should quilt," she said. "It's so much fun."
Kissinger, too, said she enjoyed the quilting, and also the companionship.
"It's better than being at home alone," she said. "It's company someone to talk to."
The ladies meet for quilting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday. They generally complete a quilt every three weeks. The $100 fee charged for the quilting goes to help pay for utilities and maintenance of the senior center.
Scheduled activities at the center include meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, a potluck supper and entertainment at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month, bingo every other Tuesday after lunch and card playing on weekdays.
The Recreation Commission also provides additional entertainment for the center, and recently installed cable television and a videocassette recorder so people could watch television together.
"They did for a while," Kissinger said. "But then they quit coming you can't make people come."
As the ladies removed the finished quilt from the quilting frame and placed it on a table to check for missed stitches, Frances Jeannin said that although it's rewarding to see the completed quilts, the companionship part of the quilting is what makes their time worthwhile.
Kissinger nodded, and added, "Most of us are widow ladies and we just sit here and talk and have a good time."
Seamstresses of all ages are invited to quilt at center. Area residents over the age of 55 are invited to come to the center for lunch.