Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles focussed on the Brookfield Senior Center. This first article will highlight the center’s day-to-day operations and the services they provide to the community.
The Brookfield Senior Center has been serving the local community five days a week with delivered meals and dine-in service.
The center provides a space for the local seniors and has many other community services other than healthy meals.
The Brookfield Senior Center operates Monday through Friday, each day starting at 6 a.m., when the food preparation begins. Around that same time administrator Heidi Wampler is going over the delivery routes and making sure a driver is covering each route in Brookfield, Meadville and Laclede. Currently the center is delivering to over 80 seniors across those routes and has been adding more stops since this year started.
Just before 10 a.m. Wampler packs up her car with bags of hot and cold food. The delivery route takes her to many senior homes throughout Brookfield. As she stops at each house she checks in with each of the seniors to make sure they are well and alert.
According to Wampler, getting the meals delivered is high on her list.
“I make sure the meals are delivered regardless,” Wampler said.
Wampler documents some interactions when she re-enters her car. She writes down how they are doing, if they needed help with their mail, trash or even taking their medication. These notes build a portrait of these seniors for the staff, volunteers, hospitals or state officials if anything should happen.
For Wampler, the documentation is important.
“We have to document everything,” said Wampler. “If I suspect they aren’t taking of themselves or elder abuse, I have to report that.”
As Wampler arrives back at the center it is time for lunch to be served. People begin to line up before the lunch service which starts at 11:30 a.m. People will start showing up to the center when the doors open at 8 a.m. Many of them will play games and talk amongst themselves until the meal is served. After lunch is served people are allowed to hangout in the building until the center closes at 1 p.m. The same crew that has been there since 6 a.m. stays to wash dishes and get everything ready for the next day’s meal.
For Wampler, the job is hard, but rewarding.
“I love being able to help the community and letting them know there are resources available to them,” said Wampler.
Other services the center offers include workout classes, a heating and cooling station for seniors and a variety of games and entertainment. In addition the center can be rented out on the weekends for a $50 deposit. The center can hold up to 60 people. Wampler is working on a gardening activity for the seniors. She hopes to have it available soon.
Dorman Ripley, a local senior, enjoys his time at the center.
“I’ve been coming here for a long time,” Ripley said. “I come back for the food and seeing my friends.”
People 60 years old or older can eat for free at the center, or make an in-kind donation of $3. Those younger than 60 years old must pay $6.75 for a meal. The center is located at 143 Clawson Rd.
The next part in this series will look at the history of the senior center, the staff and familiar faces there.