Thrifty Pine Store Funds Senior Meals And Fun

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If you think you have never heard of the Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation, you would probably be mistaken.

"Our love name is the Pine Strawberry Senior Center," manager Bill Thompson said.

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Gayle Wilson, Arlene Hancock, Jean Vogel and Mave Vance enjoy a friendly game of cards in the Pine Senior Center.

The thrift store supports the community center where seniors can socialize, purchase a hot lunch for a few dollars on weekdays, and there are always games to play.

The center began serving meals in about 1991 at the behest of Mary and Carl Savage, who are both deceased now, member Harriet Follmer said.

For many years, a sign "Carl's Kitchen" hung above the kitchen door.

At that time, meals came from the Pine-Strawberry School.

Within a couple of years, there were enough diners that the center decided to hire its own part-time cook.

The cook, "Connie," said she needed full-time work, so the center tried it.

"It was crowded right off the bat," member Harriet Follmer said.

Meals were $2.

Follmer recalled 90 people overflowing the center when Connie made a special steak dinner that cost five bucks extra.

"There are still a few who have been dining since the beginning like the Bushnos," Follmer said.

Meals in the dining hall are $4. Meals on wheels are the same, but cost an additional 50 cents.

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Judy Mueller tends to her work at the Pine Senior Center Thrift store.

"If you need a meal delivered, don't be reluctant, it is one of our services and we are happy to offer it," Thompson said.

A day's advance notice is required to dine.

Games are a part of the membership privilege.

Seniors can pick up a cue and break the billiards during weekdays at the center. There is also a 25-cent-limit poker contest and other games being played most days.

During the winter, canasta players gather on Tuesdays and pinochle players on Wednesdays. Farkel starts up again in the summertime.

The new kindergarten through eighth grade school was built at about the time the center started serving meals. The new school left a building conveniently empty for the thrift store, Follmer said.

People have donated an assortment of items during the years.

A Ford Thunderbird was the item that came to Thompson's mind.

Old wines were the first unusual item that came to volunteer Martha Ahrens.

Sometimes people donate "dirty, stinky, clothes that they, for some reason, think we can sell," volunteer Judy Mueller said.

The store has high standards, so Mueller tosses the icky clothes.

Change found in clothing goes into the piggy bank for occasional volunteer pizza parties.

"The volunteers are a really good group, which is why I volunteer here," Betty Rabinkoff said.

Rabinkoff and her friend Ahrens have volunteered sorting items at the thrift store for years.

Katie Calderon began volunteering a couple of years ago.

"I believe in giving back to the community," she said.

"And, it's not often I leave empty handed," she added.

Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation

Founded: 1985

Officers: Bruce Thompson, president, Judy Mueller, vice president, Willene Smith, treasurer, Sheri Earp, secretary

Purpose/mission statement: The primary objectives are to encourage and provide social activities, economical and nutritional meals, educational activities to the senior citizens of Pine and Strawberry; to consider and help where possible the medical financial, and legal needs of said senior citizens; and to operate a thrift shop for the good of all citizens.SCAF may also participate in other activities, consistent with its articles of incorporation and consistent with the terms of all contractual agreements.

Contact info: The Pine Senior Center is located at Highway 87 and Randall Place. To RSVP to the dining room Monday through Friday, for meals on wheels delivery or to volunteer, call Thompson. The dining room phone number is (928) 476-2151, the thrift store is (928) 476-4633.

How to join, dues, donate: From the beginning, it has cost $5 per year to join the Pine Senior Center.

Thrift store donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meeting day, time and place:
Contributions to community / major projects: Thrift store funds senior meals in the dining hall, meals on wheels and donations to the food bank in Pine.

Volunteer names: Martha Ahrens, Rhonda Bossert, Katie Calderon, Becky Gudnason (she is a paid employee too), Dick Kindig, Judy Mueller, Betty Rabinkoff, Ron Smith, Cap Sutter, Ed Martin, Marge Edwards, Leota Murphy, Sheldon Lawrence and Jim Weyant.

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