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Dunbar Loving Hands Senior Center relocates to church, offers free 'everything'

| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 6:49 p.m.
Andrew Hesner | for the Daily Courier
Ken Cooper, with Dunbar Loving Hands, said the organization is under the arm of Rendu Services and offers assistance to all seniors ages 50 and up. The group meets every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Franklin Memorial United Methodist Church in Dunbar.

Bingo, crafts and endless cups of coffee are but a few services provided by the newly relocated Dunbar Loving Hands Senior Center.

The nonprofit senior center, originally located at Rendu Services on Pechin Road in Dunbar, will meet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday in Franklin Memorial United Methodist Church on Bridge Street in Dunbar.

Under the direction of organization President Ken Cooper of Dunbar and under the arm of Rendu Services, the center welcomes all seniors 50 and older for free coffee, refreshments and games. Refreshments and prizes are provided by the seniors and have included cookies and doughnuts to pizza and chili.

“Everything is free,” Cooper said. “However, donations are encouraged yet not required.”

Divided into two floors, the center offers bingo, refreshments, prizes and good conversation on the ground floor and games such as corn hole, checkers, darts and crafts in the basement.

The crafts section, organized and run by Cooper's wife, Bernise, serves as more than just a leisure activity.

During the bake sale and Dunbar Community Day in the summer, the seniors march in the parade and sell their crafts and personal items.

All proceeds made during the events are divided between the senior center and the church. All other funds are donated to the center.

The church, under Pastor David Ealy, considered the senior center relocation a community outreach opportunity and quickly accepted the invitation, Cooper said.

March 5 marked the first meeting in the new location.

Ken Cooper recalled the event.

“It went very well,” he said. “Our average turnout during past events was 20 to 25 people. However, we saw between 30 and 35 people.”

The surge in attendance, according to Cooper, resulted from locally distributed fliers, among other advertising campaigns.

As for upcoming events, Cooper plans to hold a bake sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Speedy Meedy's Inc. in Dunbar.

The last Tuesday before Easter, March 26, they plan to have a hat decorating contest.

“Whoever has the prettiest or most unusual hat wins a prize,” Cooper said.

In the summer, he plans to have outdoor activities available, including croquet and walking trips.

The center was started by Rendu Services in October 2012. Rendu is a Fayette County-based organization that aims to “work with the poor and marginalized in response to the Gospel call to love thy neighbor,” according to its website.

When Cooper discovered the organization, he presented Rendu with a list of interested seniors and an updated business plan.

“It was a group effort,” he said. “I was just one of the many involved in making this successful.”

Other elected officers include Melvina Morrison as vice president/secretary and Bob Horwatt as treasurer.

“As of now, our financial situation is excellent,” Cooper said. “Whatever we make at each meeting, we divide it up between us (the center) and the church, and our half goes toward operation supplies.”

Andrew Hesner is a freelance writer.

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