The Surry County Senior Enrichment Program serves a daily lunch at the L.H. Jones resource center in Mount Airy. However, Wednesday’s luncheon offered something special for the county’s seniors.
Seniors who attended the luncheon on Wednesday went home with a Beta fish from Petsense. Cindy Nicodemus Szczepaniak, who is the coordinator for the enrichment program, said Wednesday’s event created a record turnout at the daily luncheon, with 33 seniors from all over the county attending.
Angie Embry from Petsense passed out a new Beta fish to all seniors who attended. Petsense also provided free fish food. Embry said owning, caring for and watching a Beta fish can be soothing and relaxing for seniors.
She said fish can make the perfect pets for a senior citizen, since they need relatively little attention. “If you go out you won’t need a fish-sitter,” joked Embry.
The seniors pummeled Embry with questions regarding the care of their new pets. Embry told the gathering that the water in a fish bowl needed to be changed about every seven to ten days and that the lifespan of their new Beta fish was four to five years.
Nicodemus Szczepaniak said the luncheon is a daily event aimed at getting seniors out of the house and providing a balanced meal and a fellowship opportunity for seniors. The program, which falls under the umbrella of the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Inc. (YVEDDI), is funded through federal funds as part of the Older Americans Act, according to Nicodemus Szczepaniak.
Nicodemus Szczepaniak said the program at L.H. Jones began in April. Though lunches are daily for those seniors with their own means of transportation, every Wednesday the enrichment program is able to arrange transportation to the event through YVEDDI for seniors throughout the county.
She said the luncheons are just part of what the enrichment program offers to area seniors ages 60 and over. The program also provides legal aid to seniors and runs a “meals on wheels” program.
According to Nicodemus Szczepaniak the meals program is successful only because of the number of “wonderful” volunteers in the area who are willing to donate their time to deliver meals.
Though Wednesday’s attendance was “record breaking,” Nicodemus Szczepaniak expects involvement in the program will only rise as word of the program gets out.
“As the name implies, we are hear to enrich the lives of as many seniors as possible through education, health, nutrition and fellowship,” concluded Nicodemus Szczepaniak.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.