Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

February 11, 2010

At senior center, the food is good and the price is right

Mineral Wells Index

MINERAL WELLS — One of the most important features of the Senior Center in Mineral Wells is that it is devoted to undergirding the social, physical and informational aspects to senior living issues in Texas.

But the issue about which is in the forefront for this week deals with the nutritional needs of the senior citizen who often lives alone and consequently fails to adequately provide for his or her own nourishment.

It is a fact that when one is encouraging some seniors to become involved in the Senior Center activities on a regular basis, there is the reluctance in some due to the fact that there is a misunderstanding of the quality, variety and reasons for the center’s providing the noon meal.

Often there is the rebuttal to an invitation, somewhat like, “Oh, I am not too poor to provide for my own meals. I don’t need free meals from the senior center.” Others have the idea that the food is maybe like prison food – mass produced, tasteless, served on metal trays with no concern for pleasure in eating.

Nothing could be further from the truth, when considering the lunch program at the Mineral Wells Senior Center.

The cook, Frances, has been a professional cook at the center for a number of years. She cooks the kinds of meals that we grew up eating, she prepares special diets and she is sensitive to diabetic needs and other likes and dislikes. If no favorites of some folks are found on a day’s menu, then a mention ahead of time will bring out a chef salad, a bowl of favorite canned soup or other nourishing and/or filling food. 

Speaking of nourishing, Frances is aware of general needs in the area of nourishment and is careful to serve food that offers a balanced diet, while remaining tasty and good to smell, taste and look at. Her desserts are considered excellent as well. Her main desire is to see that every participant in the center’s food provision program goes home filled with those foods that contain the proper nourishment.

Special occasions often bring out her imagination in presenting just the right taste and the right look for the occasion. Some of her specialties have included turkey tetrazzini for the Thanksgiving meal. Special foods such as Italian, Mexican, barbecue, fast-food types like cheeseburgers, BLT sandwiches and just down-on-the-farm meals like navy beans and sausage show up just at the right time. There is a once-a-month fried fish day offered the first Friday of each month.

It is not a “free meal” unless it is necessary that it be so. All who eat are asked to contribute $3 per meal, except for the special fried fish dinner, which is a bit more expensive, and $4 is requested. Arrangements may be made for the donations to be paid daily, weekly or monthly. It is also possible, and quite good, for families to pitch in and purchase meal cards with a certain number of meals paid for their senior relatives. Checks are accepted.

The last Friday of each month is the birthday party meal, which is paid for by Healthline, with no donations requested from the participants. From time to time, Frances serves brunch from 10:30 a.m. to noon, usually on Fridays when there is an early center closure time.

Reservations are required by noon for all who plan to eat the next day at the center. As for those who find that they cannot afford any meal or meals, special arrangements may be made by contacting the office at any time during the hours from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The number at the center is 325-6470.

The center kitchen is happy to have any donations of fresh, frozen or canned foods which may be offered as a gift to the Center’s budget. Fresh garden produce in the summer time is especially welcome and saves the center a great deal of money. Financial contributions from the community may also be accepted.

Don’t forget another opportunity coming up in this next month to contribute to the annual garage sale! This is usually one of the greater ways to share those things which are in good condition, but no longer in use at your home, volunteer your hands-on time to assist in the work of the sale, and to make purchase of books, records, appliances and many other desired items which you may find at the sale.

The dates are Thursday, March 4 , 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, then Friday and Saturday, the 5th and 6th.