'Soup's on!' at the senior center

Come Tuesday late morning the buzz at the Douglas County Senior Center will be "soup's on!"

Center patrons of the daily lunches - Monday through Friday - have not had the warm nourishment, which is also low in sodium, since winter's end in 2006, due to lack of funds.

But, the coming of a new volunteer coordinator in September who was privy to knowledge of a foundation that could help, has brought the first course back to the center, starting with Tuesday's meal. The contribution was $20,000 from the Marguerite Wattis Petersen Foundation, designating the money go toward "implementing a soup program for the year 2007."

"It is my husband's family foundation," said senior center volunteer coordinator Cindy Petersen. "His mother passed away in 2000. The foundation usually benefits children and abused women. This is the first senior citizen donation we've done."

Donating for the soup program will not be the last thing that the foundation does, if Petersen can help it. She is looking into reinstating the delivery of hot meals, and at this point is waiting to hear how much is needed to get it started again. Hot meals were dropped and replaced by frozen meals with the Meals on Wheels Program in September.

The Marguerite Wattis Petersen Foundation was formed in 2000 by Kathie Dees and Steve and Doug Petersen in honor of their mother, Marguerite Wattis Petersen.

Cindy Petersen and her husband Doug relocated from Reno to Stateline in 2000, then moved down to Carson Valley two years ago.

The foundation had always donated in Washoe County. In 2006 it committed $2 million to the University of Nevada Athletics Department for a $7.5 million complex that will be named the Marguerite Petersen Academic Center. The foundation has supported numerous organizations, including the Reno Philharmonic, the Boys & Girls Club of Nevada, the Girl Scouts, the Nevada Diabetes Association, Camp Lots of Fun and the Washoe County School District.

This year the foundation gave to Douglas County organizations such as China Spring Youth Camp, Austin's House - Carson Valley Children's Center and the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.

"We do a lot in Washoe County. This is the first year we've done anything in Douglas County," said Cindy Petersen.

Working at the Douglas County Senior Center, Petersen is able to see first-hand what the seniors and the center need.

Petersen said the money for the soup program should keep it going for about two years.

"I saw the need and I told my husband it would be really nice to reinstate soup here, and he agreed," said Petersen. "Soup will be served at 11 a.m. every day through the winter months, probably through May 31. Then we will start it again probably in Oct. 31.

"I just absolutely love it," she said. "I was heartbroken when they took it away."

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at jrafferty@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 210.


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