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Lunches at the Frenchtown Community Center, made available to seniors by LifeSpan Resources, draw a large crowd at the center Monday through Friday. Orders for lunches must be called in the day before. Photos by Lee Cable

Food, friends, fun at Frenchtown

February 02, 2011
In a time when it's hard for many senior citizens to make ends meet, the lunch program at the Frenchtown Community Center not only provides a place to mingle with friends, but a nutritious lunch at an affordable price.

The program, part of the LifeSpan Resources nutrition project, offers a hot lunch, Monday through Friday, to seniors and others at nutrition sites in Harrison, Floyd, Clark and Scott counties.

The Frenchtown Community Center site, managed by Sandy Dubois and her assistant, Mariann Stowers, is open five days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and serves lunch at noon. The food is freshly prepared by Masterson's Catering in Louisville and brought to the center each morning. A few meals are also delivered to homebound seniors in the area every day. LifeSpan Resources assures that the meals are carefully planned to meet 1/3 of the recommended daily allowances. A typical meal will consist of meat, vegetable, dessert and either 2 percent, skim or chocolate milk. They also make dessert substitutions to accommodate diabetics. The meals comply with Dietary Guidelines for Americans and support a low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar diet. Seasonings are provided at the sites for those who request them.

Before and after lunch, there are always several euchre players at the Center, and bingo is offered once a month. The Center also has blood-pressure screenings each month and delivers lunches to qualified homebound seniors in the area.
The sites do not charge a set amount for the meals but recommends and appreciates a donation toward the meal. The suggested donation is $2 for those age 60 and older or for those who are disabled, which is used to help maintain the program. Those who receive homebound meals, or Meals on Wheels, are provided with an envelope and can donate daily, weekly or monthly. Anyone younger than 60 is also welcome at the center, but the cost of the meals for them is $4.68.

"Anyone and everyone are welcome here," Dubois said. "We ask that anyone wanting to eat lunch call the day before to order their meal. That way we know how many meals to order each day and there is no waste."

The site takes donations for drinks and offers tea and coffee along with the milk that comes with each meal.

Jerry and Mary Babcock have been going to the center for the last three or four years.

"We like the food. It's usually real good," Mary said. "Some meals we like better than others, but most are good. And we love playing euchre here. There are, at least, two tables of players going every day and sometimes more. And we get to talk to friends and keep up with what's going on."

The center also has bingo once a month and gives blood-pressure screenings on the third Tuesday of each month. On Feb. 17, the center will host a karaoke day, giving regulars a chance to show off their singing skills.

"I come almost every day," Carter Wills said. "The food is good, and I like all the people. And I like helping out and volunteering to do some of the chores."

"I used to haul the lunches," August (Augie) Smith, of Depauw, said. "I did that for about 10 years. And I've been coming here for the lunches for about three years. It's a great place to pass the time and talk. I see people here that I've known all my life."

Fred and Leota Rennirt, of Ramsey, go each day "except when we have a doctor's appointment." Clare Agan comes from Marengo, sometimes with four or five others from Crawford County.

The Meals on Wheels are available on a long-term or short-term basis. Some people need the meals while they recuperate after being in the hospital, and others need them on a longer-term basis. There is usually a waiting list for home delivery. To qualify, a person must be 60 or older, have a physical or mental impairment that prohibits meal preparation and no one available to prepare a mid-day meal.

To order a meal, call 347-2746 and your meal will be ready at noon at the Frenchtown Community Center the following day. Monthly menus are also available at the center.

In the Corydon area, the LifeSpan center is located at the Joe Rhoads Senior Center at 123 S. Mulberry St. The menu is the same as at Frenchtown and the hours of operation are similar. Judy Amy, site manager, said the group at Joe Rhoads also has euchre players daily and blood-pressure screenings on the second Monday of each month. To order meals at the Corydon site, call 738-7603.

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