Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Joys and Concerns

These Johnson County Women are three of the JOYS of our local Community Action Office!

Our local SENCA office has an Outreach Worker, Terri Brethouwer, and she is assisted by her Advisory Board.  I am honored to sit on this board.

On every agenda there is a topic we call "Joys and Concerns" which includes things we feel need some attention.  It may be that we agree that we need new furniture for the entry room.  *We did!  And we are so delighted with the new chairs for the clients to sit in as they wait for the Handi Bus or wait to have an appointment with Terri.  We also agreed that new carpet was in order because the old one was beyond shampooing.  *THAT happened, too!  And we bought locally so that supports our community!  Our Women of Distinction event, an annual program which recognizes the women in Johnson County, NE, is one of our greatest joys.

When it comes to concerns I plan to campaign for repair of the poorly working fluorescent light
above the serving counter/coffee center in the dining room.  It blinks and goes very dim.  Since the area is meant for Seniors to use I feel this is a safety issue.

Another thing that happens at the Center is the Tuesday morning Breakfast Bunch!  The Normanator and I are  always game to wake very early in order to put our toes under the table and meet with our fellow Seniors for the great food Loretta Pope prepares for us and the conversation.  *People in general love to eat and love to visit with others!

The Breakfast Bunch
Lola, The Normanator, Larry, Craig, Wilma, Twila, Gertrude, Mary
*Not pictured:  Eldon, Connie and Kay

Tuesday breakfast is not the only thing Loretta reigns over...she prepares the noon congregate meal for Seniors and she sends many, many take-out meals every noon!  The Meals on Wheels are prepared in her  SENCA kitchen with the regular help of a volunteer, Sharon Snyder.  Our SENCA meal programs run more smoothly because of Mary Sand.  Sometimes Kevin VanLanningham offers his assistance, as well.

Every weekday mid morning a large group of fellows from retirees to professionals to farmers to ministers crowd around the table to solve the world's problems and drink coffee.  It is an institution all on its own and they enjoy one another's company immensely, even when opinions clash!  It's all about guys bonding and debating every issue that comes up!

When our local Advisory Board meets in March I will voice my own personal concerns:  Why don't more people come to share their lunch?  (It only costs $2.75)  How come more people don't come for breakfast on Tuesday mornings?  For that meal, you'll have to pony up $1.25 for the meal and $.25 for a tip for the cook!  Surely that's affordable even for Seniors!

According to their website, SENCA offers a wide range of services that are aimed at the reduction of poverty, the revitalization of low income communities and the empowerment of low income individuals and families to become self sufficient.  The services and activities offered have a measurable and potentially major impact in causes of poverty in the community.  SENCA works with participants to increase and improve their skills, knowledge, and motivations to secure the opportunities needed for them to become self sufficient.  The services and activities offered have a measurable and potentially major impact on causes of poverty in the community. 

Lots of good things happen at our Action Center in Tecumseh, NE:
  • Food Pantry:  The SENCA office and food pantry is located on the East side of the square in Tecumseh.

  • Cooking Classes:  These are offered 4 times a year.  There is no charge for them but attendees need to reserve their space by phoning 402 335 2134.

  • Tax Preparation:  Terri can help with this and can make referrals, as well.

  • Chore Assistance:  For Seniors who live at home but cannot manage cleaning and yard care as they once could, help can be arranged for them. Terri can help you with a referral.

  • Health Insurance Assistance: Special training has been arranged for Terri regarding the ACA.  She is a certified Navigator.

  • Congregate Noon Meals: To reserve your noon meal Monday through Friday, call 402 335 2134 .  The cost is $2.75.

  • Take Out Noon Meals: By calling 402 335 2134 before 9 AM on Monday through Friday you can arrange to pick up your food at the SENCA center.  Those meals cost $3.00.

  • Weatherization: SENCA offers assistance for low income and Seniors to make their homes safer and more comfortable.

  • SENCA Smart: Here is a program to help 8th grade and senior students learn to navigate money management.

  • Family Development: This is a quest to keep anyone-singles or families-from poverty and help them to become successful by learning how to budget their income, manage their spending and save for the future.

  • Poverty Simulation Programs: Students role play real life simulations where they have to work and/or go to school while caring for family members, shop for food, and arrange for transportation as well as apply for loans.  It is a light hearted way of teaching a serious subject with the goal of keeping people from living in poverty.

  • Backpack Program:  To make sure all students have adequate nutrition on the weekend, when school lunch programs are not available, backpacks are filled every week at the SENCA office.
Our local SENCA office also is available for rental.  If a family has a celebration or reunion, they may arrange to rent the facility on weekends, when the building is available.  That is the location of some of our fund raising campaigns, such as the Potato Bake which will be held in April 21 of 2016.

SENCA is having a big birthday on May 2, 2016.  We are half a century old!  Look for festivities to abound as 2016 rolls along.

As you can plainly see, we have far more joys than concerns.  How can it get any better than this?

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