As lunch time approached recently at the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center, Angie Dees recited that offerings from that day’s menu.
“Two bucks,” Dees, who is center’s director, said from her office, referring to the suggested donation from each senior.
“Today we’ve got fish, pinto beans, cole slaw, tater tots and peaches …”
Dees was happy to talk about the center she’s directed for the past five years, and she particularly wanted to talk about a Bingo game from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27, when anyone over the age of 60 is invited.
“On the day of the Bingo, we’re going to have chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, okra and tomatoes, rolls, peach cobbler, we have frito pie, we’ve got French dip sandwiches, ham and beans, pizza, hamburgers, cordon blue, spaghetti … we have so much food, and it’s a suggested $2 a meal donation. I don’t know why every senior’s not eating here.”
Bingo that day will feature multiple $50 blackout prizes and $20 regular Bingo prizes, Dees said.
Anyone who brings a friend gets an extra card, and anyone who stays to eat lunch gets an extra card. “So they have the potential to get three cards,” Dees said.
Dees has worked at the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center for a total of 10 years.
“To work here at the Senior Citizens Center you have to have a heart for your job,” Dees said. “It’s a heart-rewarding job whether it’s dealing with the seniors here, whether it’s helping the seniors out in the community.
“We’ve done fan drives. We’ve done blanket drives. Victory Life Church helps us on Thanksgiving and Christmas and they provide baskets for us to give out to the seniors that are homebound. We try to multiple things.”
Future actives include a ’70s day in August.
“We just try to find fun activities for the seniors to do here,” Dees said. “We’re going to be starting a TeXercise class soon. We have movie day. We have regular Bingo. We’re all the time doing something.”
Lunch is served beginning at noon Monday through Friday, and 110 to 140 seniors a day ranging in ages from 60 to 104 visit the center each day.
“There is so much you can learn from the seniors,” Dees said. “If it wasn’t for them paving the way for us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. They’ve worked their backsides off to get us to where we are today.
“We owe them a good place to go to get good nutritious food. We owe the people that are homebound to be able to provide a meal for them. That’s us as a community … it’s just being a good person.”
Seniors say they’re thankful for the center because many of them have no family in the area, Dees said.
“We try to do the holidays big,” Dees said. “And then with our seniors that are homebound, we’re the only people that see them every day, a good portion of them.
“They continue to stay social. It’s a big family here. Everybody takes care of everybody. Everybody worries about everybody. If somebody’s not here, ‘have you seen so and so. Where are they at. We need to call and check on them.’”
The center partners with CARR, which will pick up seniors from their homes, bring them to the center for activities and lunch and take them back home.
The center has three full time cooks, two full time drivers and a part time driver for Meals on Wheels.
“Just visit,” Dees said. “See what we’re about. Come down here and taste the food. You can’t get better food. It’s really, really good food and we cook all of the food here. Just give us a test.”
According to the City of Brownwood website:
• The center is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and offers different activities weekly.
• Lunch is served from noon until the last table is served. Cost for seniors 60 and older is a suggested $2 donation per meal. For those who are visiting with a senior, the required cost is $3.25 per person. All meals include dessert and beverage.
• If you know someone who is in need of meals delivered to their home and they live inside the Brownwood City Limits, are homebound, and over the age of 60, have them call the center to see if they qualify for home delivered meals.