The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2011

Stephanie Denham, columnist: Weather changes like crazy, but volunteers are steadfast

By Stephanie Denham
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s July already? How time has flown this year and the things we have experienced have been from one end of the scale to the other. We have seen cold weather, blizzards, rain and flooding, strong winds, hail and tornados. Now that July is here, we can look forward to temps of 100 degrees or above.

The weather patterns we have had in our area are not what we normally have, nor are they like anything most of us have ever experienced before.  However, no matter how we are affected by this year’s weather there are always things we can count on. The support and hard work of our staff, our volunteers and the community are something I can count on no matter what the weather conditions are like.

In May, we held our third annual Zumbathon to raise money for our homebound meal program in Jasper, Newton, and Barton and McDonald counties. This year was our most successful yet, raising over $7,200. We couldn’t have done it without the help of over 65 participants, and many local businesses who either were sponsors of the event or donated door prizes.  As always we want to thank the businesses, participants and instructors who donated their time for our Zumbathon. Thank you to all of you for making this such a success again this year.

On May 22, as we all know we were hit by the tornado. We lost many lives, homes and businesses from our area. However, thanks to the support and hard work of our community, we are rebuilding. Each day it becomes a little easier to cope with what we are seeing.

Our Joplin Senior Center was affected and we are pleased to say we were able to start preparing and delivering the homebound meals for our clients in the Joplin area within only a couple of weeks.  If you or someone you know was receiving the meals that was affected by the storm and need meals resumed please contact the Joplin Senior Center at 781-9353 or our office at 781-7562.  We think we’re pretty caught up as far as where everyone has relocated to due to damage, but if you know of a senior that is living somewhere else, please let us know so we can continue providing their meals.

As far as the building is concerned, the senior center is still closed for the congregate meals. However, the City of Joplin is helping us get the necessary repairs done so we can reopen as quickly as possible. Until we are able to reopen, we encourage all congregate clients to visit our other area centers located in Lamar, Carthage, Webb City, Carl Junction, Neosho or Noel.

I would like to thank the staff and volunteers of the Joplin center for all of their hard work and dedication to the seniors during this time.  Without all of you, we would not have made the progress we have made in such a short time.

Also in May, Scott Teaford, manager of the Carthage CANDO center retired. Scott has worked with us for many years, and everyone will miss him. We wish Scott the best of luck and a very enjoyable retirement.

We welcome Opal Frownfelter to the center as the new manager!  Please stop by the CANDO center for lunch and meet Opal and the rest of the staff.

In July, Cheri Taylor, the manager for the Neosho Center for seniors will be resigning her position.  Cheri will be getting married and moving to Texas. We wish Cheri the best of luck on her move!

As always, we encourage you to stop by one of our centers and enjoy a great lunch, and the opportunity to meet new friends or reunite with friends you haven’t seen in awhile. See you soon!

Stephanie Denham is the nutrition program director for the Area Agency on Aging Region X.