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More than a meal

by:  ISABEL GAUTSCHI - The Community Center's meals are well attended. The Center serves breakfast 9 a.m. Wednesdays and lunch at noon Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for a suggested donation of $3 a meal for seniors.“What don’t we do? That’s the bottom line,” said Kelly Williams, director of the Estacada Community Center.

Williams barely has a second to spare as she whizzes through the dining room during a packed breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

In between serving eggs prepared to taste, hash browns and other hearty breakfast foods, Williams places a stack of hand-written comment sheets next to the reporter from The Estacada News.

Several seniors had carefully scripted notes of what the center means to them.

“I enjoy getting out of the house and coming here,” wrote James Rhodes, 70. “Wish it were seven days a week and not just five days.”

“I love to meet the people that come to the EC Center,” wrote Joanne Derr, 77. “I have made many friends by coming here. The food is excellent! And we have fun laughing and visiting. I have also joined TOPS and Tai Chi and gone on bus trips from the center. What a wonderful way to meet people of Estacada.”

“I moved here from England six years ago and have been coming to the center usually four days a week ever since,” wrote Enid Williamson, 87. “It feels like home from home. Everyone is friendly, Kelly and the staff remember and accommodate all our likes and dislikes.”

“The Estacada Community Center is an amazing resource for the area and deserves more attention than it gets,” wrote Sherril Osborn, 69.

The Community Center serves breakfast 9 a.m. every Wednesday and lunch at noon each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, all for a suggested donation of $3 a meal for those over 60.

The Community Center also participates in Clackamas County’s Meals on Wheels program and delivers meals to seniors and disabled or ill homebound adults.

In November 2013, the center prepared and served or delivered more than 1,500 meals.

“I don’t think the public is aware that we run a deficit for every meal we serve,” said Douglas Jamieson, vice chairman of the community center’s board of directors.

Williams pointed out that while most other senior centers in Clackamas County have an area they serve — usually based on the school district boundaries — the Estacada Community Center does not.

Because Damascus doesn’t have its own senior center, the Estacada Community Center often provides meals and other services for Damascus seniors.

Estacada Community Center volunteers often drive well out of Estacada School District boundaries to deliver Meals On Wheels.

But the center provides more than just meals.

It offers a variety of exercise, Tai Chi, Tea Kwon Do and health classes along with a bimonthly dinner and live country music concert. For more information on activities at the Community Center check out the Around Town section in this week’s paper.

“The list just goes on and on and on of what we do here,” Jamieson said.

Williams and Jamieson insist that all ages are welcome at the Community Center, not just seniors.

The Community Center survives mostly from donations and membership fees to the Friends of the Estacada Community Center.

The center is independent from the city of Estacada, though the city has granted funds to the center in the past.

For more information or if you are interested in volunteering, call the Community Center at 503-630-7454.

Volunteers are required to have a criminal background check.

Center seeks input

A few years ago, the Estacada Community Center inherited Jack Kellendonk’s property — more than 16 acres on Southeast River Mill Road.

The center is seeking input from the community on what to do with the land in the coming years.

Some ideas being discussed are a swimming pool, space for after school programs or a new community/senior center location.

All options, Jamieson said, are several years down the road and would require partnerships and fundraising.

“It has to be a community effort,” Jamieson said.

If you would like to share an opinion, call Jamieson at 503-630-3673 or the Community Center at 503-630-7454.



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