Successes of senior center detailed at County Board meeting

Barb Nelson, the president of the Chisago County Board on Aging, said at the Chisago County Board of Commissioners meeting June 18 that the North Branch Senior Center about a year ago was in “dire straits for operating funds, to say the least.”

“Some of the naysayers said we’d have to close the doors,” she noted.

However, a new and enlarged board of directors and fresh ideas have helped turn the center from an organization that was about to close its doors into one that is once again serving seniors in the county and surrounding areas in numerous capacities.

Nelson explained to the board that the center became an all-volunteer operation, supported by donations and contract services with various townships and communities in Chisago County in July 2013.

She then went on to detail some of the successes at the center during the past year.

She said the center is in much better shape financially than it was a year ago, and it hosted a very successful fundraiser in May.

Another fundraiser, which will be an ice cream social and variety show, will be hosted at the center 2-4 p.m. Aug. 24.

Nelson added that the center has been able to provide congregate dining due to a partnership with Taher, North Branch Area Public Schools’ food provider. A recent health an wellness expo at the center attracted 33 agencies, she said, and people donated more than 6,200 volunteer hours to the senior during the past six months.

She said Catholic Charities will resume its Meals on Wheels and congregate dining programs at the center July 1.

Nelson also thanked the North Branch Lions Club for donating a 10-burner stove and shelving to the center, which it has been putting to good use.

She asked the board for non-monetary support of the senior center, which included becoming the fiscal agent for the center so the Chisago County Board on Aging could pursue grant money for future operations.

The board approved that request unanimously.

“You’ve done a marvelous job,” Commissioner George McMahon said. “You’re doing great, and I want to commend the board for all the time it put in to make this a success. I wish you a lot of success. You’ve got a big job ahead of you.”


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