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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fun and Friends ... Providing nutrition to the community

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Photo by Jan Thompson Fun and Friends Senior Citizen volunteers Gene Blankenship, Richard Goans and Berniece Rogers.
THAYER -- The last Friday of each month Thayer Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center hosts a birthday party for volunteers and seniors that visit the center. Last Friday birthday's were celebrated by Nellie Blackburn, Tony Bamber, Daveene Green, Lloyd Summers and Dawn Taylor. Each Friday they also wear a special color of clothing; July 27 was yellow Friday and Aug. 3 will be plaid Friday.

Sheila Smith is the administrator at the center and Sue Scott serves as assistant administrator. Fun and Friends is located at 100 Chestnut Street in Thayer and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"Fun and Friends is a nutrition site. We fix meals and send them out through five different routes a day," Smith said. She said the center averages fixing 8,000 meals a month. "We serve on the average 60 people in the center every day and send out on the routes an average of 150 homebound meals a day," she said.

Smith said it takes three people (or volunteers) on each route, or 15 volunteers a day just to get the homebound meals delivered.

"We are always in need of volunteers. If someone feels they are not up to doing a meal route we always need help in the kitchen, office and elsewhere," she said.

The head cook at the center is LaDonna Waller. "She and her staff do an excellent job. Just recently they were awarded an excellent rating in our kitchen by nutritionist Sherry Waters with the South West Missouri Office on Aging (SWMOA)," the center administrator said.

Fun and Friends is partially funded by the SWMOA in Springfield through the Older Americans Act or House Bill 352. This only amounts to $12,500 a year. Half of those funds goes to insurance the center has to have to stay open. All the meals prepared at the center are paid for with SWMOA funds.

All meals purchased at the center goes back into the SWMOA meal program.

All of what Smith calls extras - ice cream, drinks, and new carpet are purchased through the hard work of the seniors and volunteers at the center by holding fundraisers. All funds collected stay at the local center.

The center recently purchased new carpet and will be holding a yard sale (Aug. 1, 2 and 3) this week to help pay for it.

Other fundraisers held throughout the year include cookbook sales. "We are now accepting recipes for our cookbooks and advertising sponsors so we can have the cookbooks printed," Smith said.

The seniors are planning a fundraiser breakfast in the near future.

One of the biggest fundraisers held annually by Fun and Friends is the Miles for Meals Walk-A-Thon. This will be held Sept. 10 and is the only fundraiser organized by Smith. She said the seniors are responsible for all the other fundraisers.

There is always something to do at Fun and Friends. The seniors work with puzzles, play pool, watch TV, make crafts and there is a piano. "Visiting is always important and welcome at Fun and Friends. As we get into the hottest part of summer, seniors in the area are welcome to come to the center and visit and enjoy the air conditioning. There is always someone to talk to at Fun and Friends," she said.

Blood pressure checks, Missouri Home Care officials, Air Evac, the Oregon County Health Department and officials with Hospice all offer their services to the senior citizens.

Fun and Friends is governed by a board of directors consisting of George Mainprize, president; Virgil Clark, vice president (Mike Harber has been serving as vice president pro tem while Clark is away); Jessie Mea Burkhead, treasurer; and Linda Amick, secretary. Other board members include, Peggy Boren, Connie Cunningham, Sharon Hall and Betty Bamber.

Smith said something new has been started recently at the center. Seniors, volunteers and members of the community can now bring fresh or canned fruits or vegetables for the salad bar to the center. She said they will accept nearly anything but they cannot take meat.

"We invite everyone to come visit us at Fun and Friends. We guarantee you will have fun and find plenty of friends," she said.

For more information about Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center call Smith or Scott at 417-264-7354,


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