More than 23,300 people visited the Chelsea Senior Center in 2014 and there are more than 780 active members who spend time at the center’s Washington Street Education Center facility.
Those were just a few of the facts that the Chelsea City Council learned Monday night during Executive Director Trinh Pifer’s annual presentation updating elected officials on what’s happening at the popular facility.
Among the highlights from 2014, Pifer said that the center renewed its lease with the school district for five years and has added another activity room to accommodate the growing number of classes and activities offered each week.
The center received a grant to purchase senior friendly chairs, a new projector and screen and improve its facilities. In addition, there is now open WiFi for the seniors and data security for the center, she said. The center also received a minigrant and certification for two staff members to help seniors access benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid through the Michigan Bridges program.
She said the center received a grant from the Washtenaw County Consortium on Aging to provide free WAVE bus passes for seniors and disabled residents and is assisting Grass Lake in starting its own senior center.
Also offered at the senior center is a senior nutrition program, which delivers meals throughout the Chelsea School District and in Manchester. Pifer said more than 5,000 volunteer hours support the program and about 24,600 senior meals were served in 2014, including meals for about 140 homebound seniors.
She said about 22.5 percent of Chelsea’s population are seniors.
Pifer also updated the City Council on the Chelsea Community Senior Services program, or (C2S2), which assisted 195 seniors, engaged 120 volunteers and completed 844 requests for service and referrals. The program is “a support network of resources and services allowing seniors to remain independent and in their own homes,” she said.
Pifer concluded her presentation by telling the City Council that seniors “give back every day” by volunteering, making and donating items to organizations, soldiers and veterans, collecting food for Faith in Action and helping other seniors in need.
The city and neighboring townships assist the senior center in its mission to “promote, encourage and organize activities that address the physical, social and emotional concerns of the Chelsea area senior citizens and their families” with funding.
For the last two years, the city request was $25,000, but this year, the center requested a $5,000 increase to $30,000 to “meet sustained growth.”
Membership increased by 50 members in 2014, and the center offers 30-40 programs each week, not just for seniors but also for intergenerational visitors.
City budget deliberations are expected to begin next month.