After nearly 15 months of being closed, the Bear River Valley Senior Center has reopened its doors for all pre-pandemic activities, including serving lunch inside on weekdays.
The senior center reopened for regular operations on Tuesday, June 1, and is once again able to serve as a community gathering place for local seniors. With COVID-19 cases on a steady decline and most seniors having been vaccinated, staff decided it was safe to get back together and start making up for lost time.
“They’re so excited to be back and eating lunch together,” said Jenny Christensen, director at the center. “Lunchtime is when they have that camaraderie, where they can sit and catch up with each other.”
The center faced the difficult decision to close in March 2020, but has been offering Meals on Wheels and curbside lunch pickup throughout the pandemic. The curbside service will continue at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays for those who might not yet be comfortable in a communal dining setting, Christensen said, but for those who are ready, lunch will be offered in the dining room at noon.
“It’s been so quiet around here,” she said. “It’s great to hear laughter and talking and visiting, and to be able to help people again.”
The next step in returning to normal will be field trips, which senior center staff are working on organizing.
Christensen said she was able to retain all of the center’s employees during the pandemic, so there won’t be any major staffing issues.
“We just came up with different things for them to do,” she said.
Demand for meals during the pandemic saw a steady increase to the point that the center brought on another delivery driver and added a fourth route.
“Our cooks have been amazing at keeping up with the increasing numbers and keeping everyone fed,” Christensen said. “There’s an ever-increasing number of people who can use the help, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide it for them.”