HOLIDAY WISHES: Serve Our Seniors helps area’s elderly enjoy season |

HOLIDAY WISHES: Serve Our Seniors helps area’s elderly enjoy season

Sierra Sun

The wish box itself is small – it’s only meant to hold slips of paper that have scribbled messages from senior citizens describing what they want for Christmas.

Instead of being delivered to the North Pole for Santa’s scrutiny, the wish list goes out to the community in the Adopt-A-Senior program, a part of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s Community Christmas. Community members, families or organizations can adopt a senior for the holidays and make their holiday wish come true.

“[The wishes are for] a variety of everything, an assortment of things. It can be anything from gloves and slippers to food and special household appliances,” said senior Evelyne Smallwood.

“Two years ago I got a microwave and I was very happy because I needed one. My old one didn’t work anymore.”

Smallwood, who has lived in the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments, located off of Highway 267 in Truckee, for more than five years, is active in the senior community.

On Mondays, she joins two other seniors from the center to volunteer at Tahoe Forest Hospital. On Fridays, she helps man the office and the phones at the senior center and signs in seniors as they come for lunch, which is served daily in the dining room.

Smallwood is like many area senior citizens who spend much of their time giving back to the communities they live in. When it comes to meeting needs the seniors might have themselves, Truckee has been generous in helping its oldest residents.

The Senior Nutrition Program in Truckee is provided by Serve Our Seniors, a non-profit organization based out of Orangevale, Calif. The organization is supported by various government agencies and grants and asks for nominal contributions from the seniors.

Staff and volunteers prepare the food in the kitchen facilities at the senior center and serve nutritional lunches daily in the dining room and deliver the meals to home-bound seniors in Truckee, North Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Kings Beach. Serve Our Seniors is in its second year serving meals to the elderly.

“In reality, these meals are the only warm and well-planned food service of the day for many,” Serve Our Seniors Assistant Program Manager Tanya Schnitzius said. For many seniors, the dining room lunches are also a time to socialize and be around friends.

For the coming year, a financial shortfall equating to approximately $1.25 per meal or $10,000 exists for the group. The community is asked to help with the shortfall on a regular basis to assure continuity of the nutrition and meal delivery program.

Besides serving meals, the organization also added new programs and services for seniors. By contacting the office at the senior center, seniors can be linked to a variety of services for help if they are in need. Weekend frozen meals are also available to seniors who need that service.

Schnitzius said the organization also encourages the seniors to participate in the various activities that occur on a daily basis at the senior center. The seniors facilitate the programs for which Serve Our Seniors helps provide materials.

“The senior program is oriented towards the seniors and we’re trying to encourage the seniors to facilitate the activities,” Schnitzius said, adding participation in both social and physical activities makes the seniors feel stronger and healthier in every way. “It makes them feel important because they are.”

On the last Saturday of the month, seniors gather in the dining room for Senior Opera Night, where they wear elegant clothing, bring pot luck delicacies and watch a movie opera on the big screen TV donated by Truckee Sunrise Rotary’s Angel Network. Last Saturday, the seniors watched an opera version of “Romeo and Juliet.”

On the first, third and last Tuesdays of the month, the Truckee Barbershop Quartet comes to the senior center to practice. On the second Tuesday of the month, a quilters club meets at the center. On Wednesday, between 1 and 3 p.m., seniors gather for an arts and crafts club and on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. they meet for games. A self defense class for seniors meets on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

To adopt a senior, call Connie Lentz for information at 582-8359. To make contributions to the senior center or SOS Nutrition Program, call Tanya at 587-2408.

Senior Center wish list

— Copy machine

— Ivory or plastic keys for grand piano, approximately 12

— Drapes for dining room

— Chairs with rollers

— Clothing

— Tablecloths – clear plastic or white

— Round tables

— Wood stove – in two to three years the wood stove at the center will be out of code

This list was brainstormed by the seniors living in Truckee Donner Senior Apartments. To make contributions to the senior center or SOS Nutrition Program, call Tanya at 587-2408.

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