Celebrating the reopening of The Center
The Center has always been a safe haven for elders and the community, so we were equally devastated when we were unable to allow elders to congregate at The Center for recreational activities during the pandemic.
“Although we were closed to hosting activities, events, programs and classes during the pandemic, we were never closed to the elders and general public, who sought out assistance for services and resources such as, housing and benefit application assistance and connecting them to additional community resources,” Mayor Brian A. De Peña, expressed to the media during the reopening of the Senior Center.
Their major concern, due to the vulnerability of elders, was never being able to open our doors again to in person activities/programs, the staff became diligent in their efforts to educate the community and spread awareness on the CDC guidelines, social distancing and mask mandates, as well as, becoming the site location for COVID testing and vaccination clinics.
In addition to offering COVID education and individual in-person assistance as needed, they quickly transformed from an elder focused program/activity center to one concentrating on the community as a whole. Focusing to address the increased number of residents facing food insecurities, The Center became a food distribution facility, dispensing 3.7 million pounds, delivered 1.2 million pounds of food to COVID + homebound elders and residents, as part of the “Meals on Wheels” program, delivered a hot meal daily to over 350 elders.
Also, in order to combat the increase isolation and depression that elders were facing, the staff worked hard to ensure and maintain relationships, connections and communication with our elders by making wellness calls to elders, remotely offering exercise classes, book clubs, arts and crafts activities, and health and wellness workshops.
Lastly, they served the dire needs of the entire community. “We are very proud that through it all our passion, love, and dedication we have to serving our elder community never wavered!” said The Center’s director, Martha Vélez.
After some renovations, updates and fresh coat of paint, they were successfully able to ‘re-open’ on May 10, 2022! After two very long years, they were finally able to enjoy having the elders in- person at in The Center. On this day, they were successfully celebrating with over 200 excited elders!
All this was possible thanks to the great effort of The Center’s Director, Martha Vélez, and all her staff, who have always provided humane and professional services to our elders.