Photo: Pictured above from left to right, George Wallace Senior Center volunteers Betty Woodward, Faye Moore, Liz Cline and Vicki Scott prepare hot meals for seniors. Photo courtesy of Vicki Scott.
By Katie Bohannon, Staff Writer
While local seniors might feel disheartened during a time when their normal routines are turned upside down, the George Wallace Senior Center at 407 Hollingsworth Park Drive in Glencoe strives to provide seniors with a sense of security, hope and love.
GWSC began taking precautions straightaway to protect both volunteers and seniors from COVID-19. In addition to adhering to all the regulations advised by the Centers for Disease Control, senior center workers sanitized the facility daily, making thorough use of Clorox, hand sanitizer, soap, gloves, hair covers, aprons and Lysol. Glencoe Mayor Charles Gilchrist ordered tests and thermometers to check temperatures and personally delivered face masks to volunteers to wear while handing out and delivering food.
Despite the restrictions in place, GWSC remains active in ministering to its seniors. 69 seniors receive hot meals daily via home delivery or curbside service, along with SunMeadow Meals nutrition boxes that contain two weeks’ worth of food. Nutrition Manager Vicki Scott understands that providing for nearly 70 seniors requires more than one person devoting his or her energy, but a dependable team unified to fulfill a worthy cause.
Scott commends the three women who form the “Golden Girls Crew.” Scott describes Senior Center Director Pat Hill, Assistant Manager Faye Moore and Deidre Howard as blessings who each bring a different skill set to benefit the program as a whole. Together, along with the other dedicated volunteers, GWSC never ceases to help whenever, wherever and however possible.
“The honor of feeding 69 seniors of the Glencoe community is successful only as a team,” said Scott. “I have never worked with a team that works so well together. We are all so different, but work great together. [Apart from the “Golden Girls Crew”] the other 75 volunteers who grace our center doors tirelessly work to bring our program full circle.”
Scott began working at GWSC in 2014 after discovering an advertisement in front of Glencoe City Hall for meetings held at the senior center. Throughout the process of finding the senior center, Scott’s husband Alan noted that the facility was hiring a nutrition manager and encouraged her to apply.
“The activities and the fellowship are two things I enjoy the most about George Wallace Senior Center,” said Scott. “Our seniors make me feel like family, and the fellowship with them it addictive. I just cannot get enough of them.”
Scott stated that her time spent with seniors strengthened her faith, and it is her faith that empowers her to continue on during this difficult time. She referenced John 16 verses 31-33 that read: “Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man on his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” These verses minister strength and inspiration to Scott while she strives to overcome one of the most challenging obstacles during the pandemic – a lack of fellowship.
“Social interaction is a very important element in what we do,” said Scott. “This social distancing we feel obligated to practice goes against our beliefs, but we decided to pick our battles. For now, there are no hugs, but we are hugging our seniors in our prayers and praying hard that this quarantine will be over soon with no more Coronavirus. When this is over, our hugs might outnumber the beauty shop appointments!”
Although Scott strives to provide for the seniors at GWSC, her duties are never without reward. The relationships Scott develops with both seniors and volunteers alike are priceless treasures that a pandemic could never steal.
During this time apart, Scott understands the value of being together. Scott, along with all other workers and volunteers at GWSC strives to remind local seniors that while their lives have changed, the care and compassion GWSC administers to them will remain the same.
“Their knowledge and wisdom are what I gain personally from our seniors,” said Scott. “Because of them, I have taken on a totally new perspective in life. Worldly riches mean nothing [to me] like they used to. My life is more centered on living for God and achieving His will, which gives our life meaning and purpose.”