Senior center to host Valentine’s event

Published 8:16 pm Thursday, January 29, 2015

BELHAVEN — A local senior center is gearing up for an event that will give participants something to do for Valentine’s Day.

Belhaven Senior Center will host its inaugural Sweetheart Brunch and Bingo on Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will feature a variety of health foods like toast, fruit and some kind of meat, as well as a bingo game, for which prizes will be given to winners, said Stephanie Webb, director of the center. Among the prizes that will be given are items, most of which has been donated, like boxes of tissues, lotions and soaps, to name a few, Webb said.

Webb said she decided to host the event for seniors, who may not have anything to do, so they can eat, talk and mingle together. Due to the center being closed on weekends, Webb had to coordinate the event for the day before Valentine’s Day, she said.

“We’re just creating a fun day for people, who may not have something to do for Valentine’s Day or don’t have a companion. It’s free and it’s fun and open to the community so please come out and show some support. We really need the community to support us.”

Webb said the nonprofit provides services for area seniors, who are 55 and over, but opens its doors to those who want to come and participate in its activities. The Belhaven area is limited in the services, activities and even job opportunities available for seniors, making it difficult for seniors to stay active, stay healthy and, essentially, survive, Webb said.

“We serve a lot of low-income seniors who are looking for a way out,” Webb said. “People don’t realize how many problems seniors deal with on a daily basis just with healthcare costs. They have no way to get income other than what they may be getting from social security and other stipends from the government, and there is no kind of work at all in the community.”

The center operates much like the Department of Social Services, providing services for seniors like access to housing assistance, locating long-term health assistance, health screenings and informational sessions, legal aid, social security and Medicare/Medicaid, Webb said. It has a library, computers, and cable TV, and it hosts about 15 activities each week for area seniors to participate in like exercise and healthy eating classes. The center is monitored at the county and state levels and is certified as a Center of Excellence by the state. It also has programs that aid homebound seniors, providing them with home-delivered meals and arranging for transportation to doctor’s appointments through DSS. Funding for its programs and services is limited through donations and government budgets, making it difficult for the center to survive, Webb said.

“Most people are below the poverty line, and that’s who we serve,” Webb said. “We really draw to those who do not have the resources they need to make it day-to-day.”