Northshore Senior Center leaders acknowledged the many challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but mostly focused on the positives in a recent virtual “fireside chat.”
Staff, the board president, CEO and Woodinville’s mayor took to Facebook Live on Friday night to discuss how the center has kept providing services, altered its programming, and how it might re-open safely someday as well as answer some audience questions.
“We don’t yet have clarity on when we might get to reopen,” CEO Brooke Knight said during the live-streamed event. “We are looking at likely opening in phases,” she later added. “We are not just going to be flinging open our doors one of these days and letting everyone in.”
In the meantime, the center has grown its food programs to ensure people are still being fed without putting themselves in risky situations and recently launched a slate of online classes and social groups.
“I worry about the sense of isolation people might be feeling,” Woodinville Mayor Elaine Cook said.
Cook spoke to the center’s importance in the community and discussed an effort she took part in to bring excess produce from Eastern Washington to the area. Knight said one day Cook showed up to the center with huge bags of onions and potatoes to add to its food pantry collection.
The city also has awarded funds from a newly formed grant program to the senior center to help it keep providing services, such as its free pop-up food pantry, grocery delivery, and to-go and delivery hot meals.
“Any money the city gives you will never be enough, but it’s a way for us to say thank you for what you do for our citizens,” Cook said.
The center has lost a lot of its revenue after it closed its doors in March, Knight said. The city’s grant and online fundraisers have made it possible to keep services running as well as ensure it will have the operating funds to be able to open in the future.
A new session of virtual classes begins on June 22, according to the website. The center has been offering online sessions on exercise, music, dance, martial arts, sign language and bingo. A social group called Conversation Café is also available both online and by phone every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Class schedules and information on how to sign up may be found at the center’s website northshoreseniorcenter.org.
Updates are also posted on its Facebook page, Knight said.
More information may be found at www.northshoreseniorcenter.org or by calling 425-487-2441.