Pine Strawberry Seniors Offered Food, Family

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Seniors — that’s anyone 50 and older these days — can find good food, fun and family at the Pine-Strawberry Community Center’s dining hall and thrift shop.

The meals served at the dining hall can be as simple as a nice salad, or you can enjoy a full and filling lunch, and both are available for reasonable prices — the salad bar is $3 per person; the full lunch, and the Meals on Wheels entrée, are just $5. The salad bar is open at 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday and lunch is served afterward.

Become a member of the Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation, which runs the community center, and get $1 discount on the meals. Membership in the SCAF is only $5 per year, according to Rhonda Bossert, who manages the Pine Thrift Store at the community center.

Meals are not served most holidays, though for the past several years, special efforts have been made to provide both a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at the Community Center Dining Hall.

It is recommended participants make a reservation at least a day in advance at (928) 476-2151, which is the same number people can call to arrange for the Meals on Wheels program in the area. Just speak to manager Terry Burkhart or the cook on duty.

After lunch, there is always something to do at the dining hall: poker is played on Monday; canasta is played Tuesday; Bingo is either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the players’ choice; and on Fridays visitors can play either poker or bridge.

“People can just come in out of the heat, turn on the TV or socialize,” Bossert said.

Members of the SCAF also enjoy a discount at the Thrift Store every third Wednesday of the month. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and frequently has “themed” sales, such as Western wear for rodeo weekends in Payson, pre- and after-season events.

Seniors and others looking for something to do this summer can always come down and see about volunteer opportunities.

“We always need help for our Navajo taco sales at the arts and crafts festivals,” Bossert said. These are the program’s biggest fund-raisers.

The Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild presents a festival each holiday weekend through the summer; the next will be Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 at the Community Center; another will be held Labor Day Weekend. These always bring lots of visitors to the community and many residents turn out as well — and the Navajo taco lunch prepared by members of SCAF is one of the most popular events, so help is always needed to keep up with the demand.

Call either the dining hall at (928) 476-2151 or the thrift store at (928) 476-4633 for more information.

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