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Effort to increase Lathrop Senior Center attendance
Lathrop Senior Advisory Commissioner Marlene Taylor distributing flyers about an upcoming spaghetti dinner fund-raiser on St. Patrick’s Day in front of City Hall. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
LATHROP – Marlene Taylor was hard to ignore with her a la Christina Aguillera green wig and matching triple-tiered faux emerald necklaces standing out against her white peasant blouse.

It was the perfect outfit to catch the attention of anyone coming in to City Hall, who was then rewarded with a colorful flyer.

Never mind that her leprechaun-pleasing colorful accessories were in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The important thing is, it did the trick as far as she was concerned – letting everybody aware of the upcoming spaghetti feed fund-raiser at the Lathrop Senior Center put on by the city’s Senior Advisory Commission.

Her presence at Tuesday’s council meeting was part of a new push by the members of the senior commission to increase attendance at the Senior Center and encourage more active participation in senior activities and programs.

As part of that effort, Commission member George Jackson said, “we are trying to get more trips” scheduled that would be of interest to seniors. But the other side of that effort is “getting more people to come,” he said, which is why they are also working hard on finding ways to promote these activities.

The problem though is that “everybody wants (the trips) to be free,” said Jackson, a former Planning Commissioner who was appointed by the mayor to the senior commission about three months ago.

And this is where fund-raising activities such as Friday’s spaghetti feed come in, he said.

“The fund-raiser is to create more free trips so they don’t have to spend $25 for a trip to the casino” or elsewhere, Jackson said.

As far as beefing up attendance at the Senior Center, he said the commissioners are working on that trying to float some ideas.

“What kind of hook do you have to do to get them to come, and stay?” he asked.

They usually get at least 60 and sometimes up to 100 people come to the Senior Center for the Brown Bag or Commodities, both food-distribution programs either at no charge or at a minimum cost for qualified seniors. They would like to see those same numbers at the various programs and activities offered at the center, Jackson said.

In addition to the nutritious hot lunches served on weekdays and bingo games, the Senior Center also offers crafts, beading, cooking and tai chi classes available for anyone age 50 and older. The center is also hosting a legal-service program for those 60 and older for help on such issues as statutory wills, durable power of attorney, health-care directives, elder abuse, restraining orders, evictions, and grand deeds. This free service is available every first Monday of the month by appointment only.

Below are just some of the upcoming activities at the Senior Center that are open to the public:

• Spaghetti feed – This fund-raiser is held today from 6  to 8 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for children 2 to 10 years old, and will be available at the door. In addition to the “all you can eat” spaghetti, there will be salad and French bread, plus drinks and dessert. Raffle and door prizes will be given away as well. Helping the seniors by volunteering as food servers are members of the football Stockton Thunder and Lightning cheerleaders. There will be meat sauce, and “meatless sauce in honor of Lent” as well for the spaghetti.

• Jackson Rancheria Casino day trip Monday, May 23 – Fee is $25 per person, with each one receiving $25 in free play upon arrival at the casino. This trip is open to all adults 21 years and older. The bus will depart from the Senior Center at 9 a.m. and will return at 4:30 p.m.

• Spring Bunny Breakfast on April 4 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. – Menu will consist of scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee and juice. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children 10 and younger. The Spring Bunny will be there to distribute treats to children, and will be available for photos as well. The event is open to all ages.

• Spring parking lot sale April 18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – This is an annual event at the Senior Center offering bargains galore plus entertainment and great food. Stalls for rent are $15 each, or $25 for two. Tables will be available for rent for $2, or bring your own.

For more information on any of the above programs and activities, call the Senior Center at 941-7380. Or stop by the Senior Center at 15707 Fifth Street, in the Manuel Valverde Park.