Saturday, December 11, 2010


The past Thanksgiving was very successful with around 470 seniors served in less than five hours. It was, however, a bit too successful and shortly afterwards, I began writing down ideas for how to make it better next year. The first thing that I wrote was that we needed to focus more next year reducing the hourly numbers so that we can better serve the seniors. I worried as I looked at my notes knowing that this meant that some seniors would be left out.

As I thought about that dilemma, I opened my email and was surprised by an email from the director of the Central Oregon Council on Aging. She asked me if I would be interested in possibly helping out her group in the future. It was like a light bulb in my head.

We set up a time to meet and sat down at the counter the other day. I shared with her my desire to help out as many seniors as we possibly could next year and my thoughts regarding our limitations in our present building. Between us we began to formulate a plan moving the existing dinner to the Bend Senior Center and even using Meals on Wheels to expand the delivery.

Our desire is to turn the Senior Center into a sort of resort for the day for Seniors who are without family and to continue to reach out to other seniors who for whatever reason cannot get out and enjoy our company.

She talked of the possibility of getting a big screen TV and setting it up in the lounge room for ones who wanted to just get together and watch the football games while they munched on food or drank coffee.

I know that there will be barriers to jump but I can just see it in my head and it excites me. Imagine a place where seniors who for whatever reason are away from others in their family creating one large family to hang out with and enjoy each others company.

They are greeted as family when they walk in the door. Can eat a casual meal in the dining room while serenaded by local singers. Or play pool in the rec room Or read a book in the library Or watch a football game in the lounge with other fans. All in one large house with one giant family.

Or a senior who cannot get out of his house having a friendly face meet him at his own doorstep with a warm meal and a smile. Maybe even stop in for a bit and watch the game with them or just sit with them while they eat.

This event started the first year that we moved into our new building. We are on our sixth year. The first year, we served around 250 or so. This year, 470. It all began as an extension of something Jimmy, our kitchen manager, did at his old restaurant in California years ago. It has become our biggest outreach focus of the year.

I will try to keep you abreast of developments but needless to say, it has my mind a bit occupied. And I have to wait nearly a year to hopefully see our excited ideas come to fruition.


Anonymous said...

Wow, fantastic idea. This is one of the most important thing you guys could ever do. I speak from my position as a 65 year old who has no family available and am caring for my 93 year old mother who lives with enough dementia that she isn't able to really get out. This makes holidays very, very lonely for me. I grew up with big family events at holidays and boy is that ever tough to transition out of. I would like to be part of this event. I would like to make these people my family and if possible, maybe even help you offer a smile, serving. I will keep this in my prayers.

Lyle, you rock,
Kathy Poncy

diner life said...

It is coming, Kathy. I met with Central Oregon Council on Aging yesterday. We have confirmed the senior center and their partnership with us. We will turn the senior center into a mini resort for the day. If you can get away, you are very welcome to join us.