(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Cleffie Gipson, site manager for the St. Bernards Senior Life Center in Caraway said she is very appreciative of the money distributed to the senior citizen centers from the state surplus. Area senior centers received $10,029.
"It will help us meet some of the needs we have," Gipson said. "We discussed our needs and will spend the money wisely. We have a wonderful group of people here who work together. The center is very important to our community."
One of the items acquired with the money is a big screen television with speakers.
"We have a lot of informative lecture type DVD's we use and the big screen television will ensure everyone will be able to see and hear the information," Gipson said. "It was difficult for everyone to see with the small screen we had."
Among other purchases the money will go for will be book shelves, repairing the front doors, purchasing a computer and calculator, new food trays, and a new treadmill for the exercise room.
"We have a wonderful exercise room the senior use every day," Gipson said. "All of our equipment was donated. Our treadmill recently quit working and the seniors have really missed it."
Caraway senior center has 45 enrolled and have an average daily attendance of 29 or 30. Nine home bound lunch deliveries are made each day.
Gipson has worked as site manager at Caraway for 14 years.
"I love my job and I love the people here," she said. "We have a good time every day. We try to have something to meet everyone's interest. They play a lot of card games including Pitch, Skip Bo, and Chicken Scratch. We have a pool table, crafts, and the exercise room. We go out to eat once or twice a month and take an occasional shopping trip."
Gipson said the center has a teller sensory machine for enlarging.
"We can take documents with small print and enlarge it," Gipson said. "If anyone in the community needs to use the machine they are welcome to come by. The city workers and officials, Western Auto staff and others are very supportive of us and we appreciate all they do."
The Caraway Senior Center recently hosted its annual Halloween party with six centers attending. They were Lake City, Monette, Harrisburg, Lepanto, Marked Tree and Trumann.
"We always have a great time at our Halloween party," Gipson said. "We again had a 20 foot banana split which has become a tradition for our party."
On Halloween the seniors enjoyed a visit from the pre school and kindergarten children as they trick-or-treated.
Gipson again expressed her appreciation for the state money which has allowed them to get some of the thing they need.
"We want to be part of the community," Gipson said. "We have a wonderful center here and we would like to share it. We have talked about starting a game night for seniors 60 and over. If anyone is interested in a game night they can contact me and we will get it started."
Gipson said they love to have new people join them at the center. For more information about the activities people are invited to stop by. The center is open five days a week.
Gipson said she looks forward to coming to work every day. One of the highlights of her year is playing Mrs. Santa each year at the St. Bernards Children's Christmas party.