By RuAnne Walworth
Williamston Post staff writer
Add zest to your life and pass the joy on to others. This is a saying heavily practiced by volunteers and staff members at the Williamston Area Senior Center.
The senior center, established on Oct. 20, 1992, has provided a place of fellowship, friendship and fun for 21 years. From Bingo, card games, coffee socials, lunch and trips to places such as Frankenmuth, the center stays active with its senior community.
Virginia Taschner, Williamston resident of 61 years and treasurer on its Board of Directors, has been a volunteer at the center since 1992.
“We started serving meals in February of 1993,” Taschner said. “We get our meals from the Tri-County Office on Aging, part of the meals on wheels program. They cook the meals and we serve it here, very nutritious.”
Meals include a Swiss steak in mushroom sauce, a chicken pasta salad or vegetable lasagna.
The senior center’s funding originally came from a grant from the Tri-County Office on Aging, which paid for the center to operate with staff and the supplies for their food and activities, according to Taschner. Since 2008 however, the center has to finance everything. They have fundraisers to raise money and have generous donations from people in the community and even from members of the senior center who have passed on.
According to Taschner, the senior center’s budget runs about $25,000 a year in order to fund their food, activities and paid staff.
JoAnn Joseph has been a center volunteer for two years. With responsibilities of signing people in attending the events during the day, collecting money for food and gathering who will attend next week to have the correct amount of meals present, Joseph loves being a part of the senior center’s family.
“These people are amazing, they really care about you,” Joseph said. “You become family almost immediately. They make you laugh. And the strangest part is you don’t even know what their career path was in the past, or every specific detail of their life, and it doesn’t even matter.”
Jack Kzeski, vice president on the Board of Directors and a volunteer for about five or six years, focuses on the meals on wheels program.
“Some of the people that come here are my neighbors,” Kzeski said. “Volunteering here is a way of giving back my time to serve others. You go through certain stages of your life, when you retire you have more opportunities to volunteer.”
The senior center has many volunteer opportunities available, and they are always looking for more people. The people at the center would love to see more seniors come who are in their 60’s and 70’s to enjoy fellowship and see services provided at the center.
“The people don’t come here necessarily for the food, although it is an attraction,” Taschner said. “It’s the socialization, the fellowship that they like. We’re like a family, we look after each other.”