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Seniors Are Secure for Another Year
By Laura McHale Holland
Wendy Cohen of Project Open Hand got some reassuring news at the end of June. Despite a slash in its budget, the city's Office on the Aging will be able to fund the Noe Valley Senior Center lunch program for another year. As reported in our April 2003 issue, the Office on the Aging had previously recommended that all lunch sites serving fewer than 30 members be closed. At the time, Cohen was serving lunch to about 20 seniors per day.
Cohen, who has managed Project Open Hand's Noe Valley site for the past 41/2 years, is ecstatic that the center has been saved. So are her regulars: seniors who arrive each weekday, not only for a hot meal, but for conversation, friendship, and fun.
"We want to thank everyone who helped. The seniors did a lot for themselves by bringing more of their friends in. We're up to 23 regulars now and hope to get more through word-of-mouth. They also organized a letter-writing campaign. Keenan Kelsey [pastor of the Noe Valley Ministry, where the center is housed] advocated for us. And Supervisor Dufty's office went to bat for us too," says Cohen.
Located at 1021 Sanchez Street, the senior center is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Activities include free haircuts for seniors (by appointment), birthday parties, and Friday afternoon card games. Seniors are asked for a $1.50 donation; people under 60 years old pay a mere $3.75. While drop-ins will be welcomed, Cohen prefers that you phone her in advance at 648-1030 so she can be sure she has enough food for everyone.