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Commissioners to provide funds for resurrected Dugger senior citizens center

Photo by Dennis Clark

The Dugger Lions Club Foundation revealed plans to begin operating a senior citizens center in January.

A monthly featured event will be “feeding seniors free of charge the last Wednesday of the month,” Dugger Lions Club secretary, and past president, Glynn Wills informed the Sullivan County Commissioners during their meeting Monday.

“We’ve completely revamped the building — it used to be the old senior citizens building — which is located next to the Coal Mine Museum.”

Wills said the foundation has renovated the inside of the building, put on a new roof, added new bathrooms, a new kitchen and enough chairs and tables to seat 60 to 80 people.

“We’re going to have a lunch meal, it’s free of charge,” Wills said of the monthly meal. “We’ll start it at 11 (a.m.) and go to about 3 (p.m.). That will give them a chance to sit around and play euchre, dominos, Monopoly, what ever they want to do just to socialize.

“You’d be surprised how many people over there can’t get out,” he added. “And they used to have a good senior citizens center, but they let it go to pot.” 

Wills explained the reasoning behind selecting the last Wednesday of each month for this free meal.

“Because that’s when people are usually low on money and they don’t get paid until the first of the month,” he stated. “Want to do it weekly, but it’s a step-by-step process.”

Wills said the senior citizens center has been already approved by the Sullivan County Health Department for food certification, “so we got all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed.”

But this initiative doesn’t stop with just a free meal and social time each month.

The Lions Club is also wanting to start up food distribution “for the people that are needing food through the USDA and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.”

To that goal, Wills said they had a meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon with Catholic Charities.

“This is the beginning process of us getting the food and the resources we need. We’re a 501(c)3,” Wills said. “New shelving has been ordered for the canned goods.”

Wills asked the commissioners if there was any way for them to assist the organization’s plans, adding “we would greatly appreciate it.

“But we’re starting it in January, no matter what,” he continued. “It’s going to happen.” 

Auditor Diana Ross informed the commissioners that Shelburn’s food distribution center is the only one set up currently in the commissioners’ budget.

“We’re trying to find you some money,” commissioner Ray McCammon informed Wills, then discussed the possibility of funding with the other commissioners and Ross.

After a short discussion, McCammon told Wills, “We’re going to try and get you $750 for this year and then we’ll try to include you in our budget for next year. We give to the Shelburn Community Center and it’s only fair we do something for you too.”

Wills promised he will get the word out concerning the Lions Club’s new venture.

“Starting the first of January, I’m going to start bombarding people with propaganda,” he said. “Newsletters, things on TV and posting everything in the libraries.” 

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