Senior Center in Western Orleans tries new fundraiser, welcomes more members

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 September 2021 at 7:51 am

Site at former railroad depot in Medina shut down for a year of the Covid pandemic

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Kelly Shaw, director of the Senior Center of Western Orleans, sells chicken barbecue tickets to Margaret Kelly. The Senior Center does various fundraisers throughout the year, but this is the first time they have done a chicken barbecue, and it will be provided by the Weidner family from Eden, who have been doing barbecues since 1956. The barbecue will be dine in or take out.

MEDINA – Members of the Senior Center of Western Orleans are happy to have the Center up and running as usual, after being closed for a year due to the pandemic.

Director Kelly Shaw already has two events planned – a chicken barbecue on Oct. 14 and a basket raffle on Oct. 16.

This is the first time the Center has had a chicken barbecue and Shaw contacted a new provider to the area to cook the chicken.

Weidner Barbecue from Eden is a family operation started by Bert Weidner and his two brothers in 1956 when they set up a stand at the Erie County Fair to sell chicken barbecue. Three generations later they are still using the same recipe and cater events all over Western New York.

Tickets are $12 and are available from members or at the Center during opening hours, which are 9 a.m. to noon on Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 on Wednesday and Thursday and noon to 3:30 on Friday. The barbecue comes with salt potatoes, cole slaw, roll and butter and a cookie.

The basket raffle has always been a popular event, with as many as 80 baskets donated by seniors and the community. Shaw is accepting donations of baskets through Thursday. Tickets will go on sale Sept. 17.

Some very unique baskets are already on display at the Senior Center, and include such things as wine baskets, lottery tickets, a designer tote, children’s activities, jigsaw puzzles, gift certificates and holiday decorations. The basket raffle is the Senior Center’s biggest fundraiser, Shaw said.

Shaw stressed how important these fundraisers are to operation of the Senior Center. They are able to operate through memberships, funding from United Way of Orleans County and fundraisers.

Shaw also urges seniors who are not members to join. It provides a wonderful opportunity to meet people,  socialize and have a good time. Membership is only $10 a year, and even if a senior doesn’t want to come and participate in activities, the dues help keep the Center going.

When Shaw became director 16 years ago, there were 400 members, and now there are 250. Shaw said the decline is due in part to the fact seniors are working longer and many are taking care of grandchildren. Anyone who is 50 or older is eligible to join.

The Center has a dinner meeting the second Monday of every month, the first of which is pot luck. In October, the meal will be meatloaf. Also on Mondays, baked goods are available from Tops. Seniors may choose a loaf of bread and one sweet treat per person.

Lady Dispatchers meet the last Tuesday of the month for lunch and crafts or games. Lunch is only $5.

The Senior Center also runs a drawing every month for members. Items are donated and include everything from holiday decorations to gift cards. Tickets are only two for $1.

Before Covid, the Senior Center had two rummage sales a year. Items from households or estate sales are welcome, but they cannot accept electronics or large furniture. Shaw is planning to have a cash raffle the beginning the next year.

Shaw reminds seniors that euchre is played at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. There is a pinochle game on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and exercise led by Michelle Sargent from the Orleans County Office for the Aging is at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, except for the last Wednesday of the month, which is 11 a.m. The class provides great exercise and a lot of laughs for only $1. There is always a jigsaw puzzle in progress, Shaw added.

The community is also reminded the Senior Center accepts cans and bottles, or they may be taken to Medina Bottles and Cans on East Center Street or JCo Returns on South Main and indicate they are for the Senior Center. The Center also collects canceled stamps and pop can tops.