Where can you get a baked potato with chili and cheese, fresh veggies, a chocolate chip cookie for less than $5?
Maybe not where you’d expect. Every day the Bath Township Senior Center feeds lunch to local seniors for $3 and just $3.50 for the general public.
Three years ago, Judy Gardi, a member of the Senior Services Advisory Board, said she walked into a senior center that served lunch three days a week for 35 to 40 people on a stove that was 30 inches and only had three working burners. She said the advisory board wrote a proposal to make improvements on the kitchen.
“The proposal went through the planning board. Then, the [Bath] Township board agreed to give us $55,000 to improve the kitchen, but the kitchen was $67,000,” Gardi said.
Gardi said she wrote to the Capital Regional Community Foundation in hopes of receiving a community impact grant.
“We used $55,000 that the Township gave us, $50,000 from the grant and $5,000 that the seniors raised. All together we got $110,000,” Gardi said, glowing.
Along with the proposed commercial kitchen, the extra money received went towards bathrooms that are handicapped accessible. Now, the senior center makes lunch five days a week and averages between 60 and 70 people for lunch, Gardi said.
As the senior center has been improving, so has the number of people who come on a regular basis. Bath Township trustee, Allen Rosekrans, said that there is a limit of 85 people that are allowed to eat in the building to fill its capacity. He said that when the “snowbirds” come back in the summertime, they may have to start setting aside two separate times for lunches.
“A proposal for the expansion of the building was turned in last year to the Planning Board [Bath Township.] It will cost $95,000. We’re still waiting to hear back about the financial situation,” Rosekrans said.
Rosekrans said the new expansion would include more bathrooms, a heating unit, meeting rooms and more space to eat and have group activities. He said that the money could come from the board, another grant or from donations.
Cindee Picklo, the Bath Township Senior Center programs and services coordinator, said she wants to do more. She said she wants to add group exercise classes such as tai chi and yoga for the elderly.
“A lot of our group exercise classes aren’t even held at the senior center. Our seniors have to go to the Bath Community Center because we don’t have enough room over here,” Picklo said.
Picklo also said she wants to add meeting rooms so that active members have a place to talk to someone in private if need be.
Gardi, Rosekrans and Picklo all said they were “passionate” about seeing the senior center improve and said that all of the seniors are “passionate” about each other.