Some may say the Young At Heart Senior Citizens Club bit off more than they could chew by offering to equip the new senior and community center kitchen, but club members have had a decade to prepare.
“There was a big push for a new senior center 10 years ago. It went to the voters and got shot down,” said Howie Althouse who has served as club treasurer for the last 10 years. “Since day one, I have been squirreling money away for a new senior center.”
As the fundraising arm of the senior center, YAH runs a gift shop, hosts bake sales, raffles, craft fairs and bingo to supply any need the center has.
The current need is all the appliances and equipment for the new 2,500-square-foot commercial kitchen.
YAH has purchased a walk-in freezer and cooler at a cost of $43,500, but still needs to raise funds for a 10-burner stove, two convection ovens, a dishwasher, 24-inch griddle, ice machine and salad bar table.
Those expenses add up to a little more than $84,000.
“Anything we can use from the current kitchen we’ll take over, but there are some things that are too old or too small to take over,” YAH president Marion Barritt said. “Young at Heart would love it if somebody would step forward and say ‘I’d like to buy the stove or griddle.’ We are a nonprofit, so it’s all tax deductible.”
The current senior center feeds 125 residents, five days a week. The new center will have the capacity to seat 350.
“The kitchen is the heart of the building. We have to be able to feed our people and socialize,” Barritt said. “The new kitchen means we’ll be able to serve a lot more elderly.”
Young at Heart hosts bingo the third and fifth Sunday of the month at 1 p.m. at the senior center.
“That’s our biggest fundraiser,” Barritt said. “We’ve got a gambling town, and it’s good socializing.”
The annual craft fair is also a good fundraiser for the club. This year’s is 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Craft fair chairwoman Esther Hildebrand said there are 26 vendors for the fair selling jewelry, kitchen items, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, wall hangings and Christmas decorations.
“We have a great variety of stuff this year,” she said. “Sometimes in year’s past we’ve had three tables of knitted stuff, but this year it’s all different. I’m real pleased with it.”
There will also be raffles for prizes including hotel stays, golf, dinner cruises and food certificates.
Chili, hotdogs, pumpkin pie and soft drinks will be for sale, along with a separate bake sale.
Young at Heart will be accepting memberships for $3 a year.
“The craft fair means a lot, not only to Young At Heart, but to the community itself,” Hildebrand said. “It’s a chance to get Christmas gifts that are hand crafted and made with love.”
For more information on the craft fair call, 783-6455.
To donate to Young At Heart call Barritt at 782-7353. Checks payable to Young At Heart can be mailed to P.O. Box 1042, Gardnerville, NV, 89410.
A public opening of the new facility is planned in the spring of 2015. Anyone interested in viewing the live construction webcam, or donating to the new building should visit the Community Center Foundation website at www.dccsf.com.