Lunch Bunch...More than just a meal
Having now finished my first month at the Ukiah Senior Center, I must admit, there's never a dull moment! As many of you may know, my office is located next to the Lunch Bunch Activity Room, and four days a week, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., Lunch Bunch is bursting with activity! Lunch Bunch coordinator, Mary Ann Anderson, is often accompanied by her little bundle-of-energy "Jezebel" the Chihuahua, who makes sure that she personally greets every Lunch Bunch senior with a wag of her tail.
It always amazes me just how many activities are planned for the Lunch Bunch gang every day. Hot meals for the seniors are delivered from Zack's Catering, and the menu selections are always generous and nutritious. Following lunch, a wide variety of activities are planned. Sometimes the USC choir group, "The Mendo-C-Notes," entertain the Lunch Bunch crowd with lots of "memory lane" standards. Local musicians also donate their talent and time to bring live music to the seniors, such as Jim Franks and Rudy Luehs, whose music often inspires the seniors into dancing to the beat of their tunes. Other days, everyone will be competing to win at Bingo, or busy assembling jigsaw puzzles, or drawing pictures.
While otherwise homebound seniors get to spend a few hours at Lunch Bunch, their family members and caregivers get a respite from their caretaker duties to run errands or just to take a day off. One of our senior Lunch Bunch ladies has been able to attend Lunch Bunch for years because 50% of her attendance fees are supported by sponsorships. This senior's daughter works during the day, so the time that her elder mother spends socializing and playing Bingo at Lunch Bunch gives her daughter peace-of-mind, knowing that Mom will receive a hot lunch and be cared for in a fun and active social enviroment.
A senior gentleman recently started joining Lunch Bunch every Monday, after his family learned abot the program through word-of-mouth. Lunch Bunch provides this senior with an opportunity to get out of the house, meet new friends and join in a varity of stimulating activities.
As popular as Lunch Bunch is, there are many seniors-in-need and their families who would like to participate, but lack the $25 a day needed to support this program. Although the Ukiah Senior Center is fourtunate to receive funding from charitable organizations such as the T.R. Eriksen Foundation, which provides sponsorships to seniors who are unable to afford the Lunch Bunch program, not enough funding exsits to accommodate all the seniors who would like to participate in Luch Bunch, but cannot afford it.
Anyone wishing to support the Lunch Bunch program and the vital services it provides to homebound seniors and their caregivers may send donations to:
Ukiah Senior Center - 499 Leslies St., Ukiah CA 95482, or through an online donation at www.ukiahseniorcenter.org. More information about Lunch Bunch can be found online at www.ukiahsenior center.org/services/ lunch-bunch. Thank you for your continued support!