Dunbar center celebrates 1st anniversary

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Whether it be partaking in a picnic-type lunch or playing games, like darts and bingo, Tuesdays are an active time in Dunbar Borough as senior citizens gather weekly for fellowship and fun.

The Dunbar Loving Hands Senior Center celebrated its first year anniversary at its location within Franklin Memorial United Methodist Church, marking a year of expansion.

Originally meeting in the food pantry area of Rendu Services, which hosts the group, members soon found themselves in need of a new home after only meeting weekly for a few short months.

“We outgrew the place,” center President Ken Cooper said. “We only started out with a handful of about 10 or 12 and now we average 30 to 36 each week.”

The idea for creating a center is something that has been talked about for years in the borough, and organizers were happy to finally get established.

“I wanted to get one started back in 2009,” center Vice President Mel Morrison said. “I thought it was something we need, and I'm glad it got started.”

The group set up a booth at the Dunbar Fest last year, then officially formed in the following weeks.

The center is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday. Anyone in the area 50 and older is invited to attend.

“We usually get together, then we sing, we talk for awhile, then we play bingo,” Cooper said. “Around noon or so, we eat our meal.”

The Dunbar center is different from other area centers — its members supply the lunch, each bringing a covered dish or item to be shared with the group, keeping the meals new and the cost free.

“Our center is completely free,” center Treasurer Bob Horwatt said. “There is not any cost for anything. The lunch is free. Everything is free.”

The center holds fundraisers, such as bake sales, to help with costs and hopes to continue to remain fee free. Members supply the prizes for bingo and the raffle items that are given away each week.

A donation can is at the entrance to the center area. All money collected is then divided, with the Franklin church receiving half of the proceeds for allowing the center to be held on the premises.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary, the seniors were treated to a catered meal and live entertainment by the Foggy Mountain Gang.

“I really enjoy the fellowship,” Bernice Cooper said. “We play games, we enjoy a nice lunch, and it's just nice to see the people out.”

Some members of the group are meeting on a regular basis at 10 a.m. Thursdays with members of the Dunbar Historical Society to walk the Sheepskin Trail. They also are compiling a cookbook from their recipes.

“We needed something like this here,” Horwatt said. “It's nice to have a place for everyone to get together, and it's something that was really needed in Dunbar.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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