Community's generosity benefits Brownwood Senior Citizens Center
Ofelia Fuentes didn't say a great deal after hearing her name called in a drawing Friday at the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center.
Her room-lighting smile said it all as Fuentes, who lives in the Bangs area, came forward to claim her prize: a basket filled with gifts, valued at more than $800, from businesses and individuals.
About 90 percent of the items consisted of gift cards to area businesses including restaurants, Starbucks and a nursery, Senior Citizens Center program director Angie Dees said. Passes to sporting events from Howard Payne University were among the gifts.
Following the reopening of the center reopened in mid-July — after being closed for 16 months due to COVID — seniors were given tickets, on which they wrote their names and dropped into a hopper. Tickets were given daily to seniors for eating lunch, attending the daily activity and bringing someone new to the center. So a senior could have been given up to three tickets each day to drop into the hopper.
Around noon Friday, seniors began going through the serving line for lunch and made final stops to drop their tickets into the hopper.
A few minutes later, a ticket was drawn and Dees called out Fuentes' name as the winner.
When asked if she was excited to win, Fuentes laughed in obvious delight. "Yes! Thank you Jesus," Fuentes said.
Dees said while the senior citizens center had drawings in previous years, they weren't to this extent. Scaled-down drawings will be held in the future, Dees said.
"It's been really nice having everybody back," Dees said. "I think they're enjoying it."
The center had 164 seniors at lunch Friday — a record since the July reopening, Dees said. The previous record since reopening was 134.