Wendell Senior Center serves the community of senior citizens in Wendell, Idaho with many services and activities. Our vision is to be a community that understands and embraces the power of healthy aging and ensuring that everyone knows the resources available in addition to having access to them.
WE STAND BY THESE VALUES:
- Mission – Participating and contributing to the Senior Citizen’s Activity within the range of Civic, Medical, Transportation, and Nutritional Opportunities for the senior citizens of our community.
- Purpose – Provide nutritional meals to individuals either at the center or at their home. Promote socialization by providing activities that enhance the quality of life and the mental, emotional, and physical health of individuals while allowing them to remain independent and in their own homes.
- Community Impact – We are a resource committed to promoting healthy aging and serving the needs and harnessing the energy and experience of our participants to serve the community in which we live.
- Industry Leadership – We aspire to assist healthy aging based on our programming and helpful staff.
- Excellence – We want to provide excellent meals, programs, activities and services for the community.
- Fiscal Responsibility – We are committed to be a self-supporting, non-profit organization by managing our finances responsibly, accomoplish our mission and ensure the future financial security of the organization.
How The Wendell Senior Center Began
Wendell Senior Center Background & History. The Wendell Senior Center was first organized as an Unincorporated Non-Profit Association and registered with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office on March 9, 1999. Mr. Fenton Hays was the registered agent for the organization. The new Association began serving lunches at the Senior Housing project located at 105 A Avenue West and was designated as a “Meal Site” by the Office on Aging. Meals were served on Monday of each week. Anyone of any age was welcome. However, government regulation required that anyone under 60 years of age be asked to pay for the meal whereas persons over 60 years of age were asked only to make a suggested donation. The Association’s earliest record of the amount of the suggested donation was $3.00. Meals served at the Senior Housing Project were prepared and served on-site in an approximate 30’ x 30’ room with a 10’x 10’ extension for the kitchen. Meals were served buffet-style. This level of operation continued for more than 15 years. During this time the Association became known within the community through its service and participation in community events such as “Dairy Days” in June of each year. Even though the Association was not a full-service senior center, the Office on Aging did provide a small supplemental stipend for each meal served to senior citizens. This stipend plus the suggested donation, special fund raising projects conducted by the Board of Directors and other voluntary donations kept the organization fiscally sound. After nearly 11 years in existence, the Association had 83 members on its roster. This membership remained stable for another 4 years. At that time, the Office on Aging informed the Board of Directors that they would no longer be able to provide the meal stipend – unless the Meal Site became a full-service Senior Center. The Board was then faced with the options of closing or expanding the operation. It chose to expand.
The Association was re-registered as a Non-Profit Corporation with the State of Idaho and was granted 501(c)(3) standing by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. LaVern Silva, a member of the Board, began a search for an appropriate site and also sought commitments for donations from local sources. A building at 380 1st Avenue East in Wendell was located and negotiations with the owner, Frog’s Inc. of Hagerman, began. In the Spring of 2015, the Board of Directors launched a fund raising campaign to raise as much money as possible to support the acquisition of the facility and to do remodeling as may be necessary. A blanket mailing to local citizens explained the need and asked for donations in any amount. The mailing canvas and the direct solicitations raised almost $65,000. A purchase price of $210,000 was agreed upon, a lease-purchase agreement was signed, and the remodeling of the kitchen began. The Center took residency of the facility on 1 October 2015. Mr. Silva, in his donor search, became aware of a grant-loan program through the Office of Community Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He arranged an initial meeting with Mr. Ben Peck of that office to which he invited Gary Cox to attend. Mr. Cox, a retired military officer and university administrator, had had some success with grant writing and agreed to help draft the application documents. The end result of these combined efforts has been the successful purchase of the 8,168 sq. ft. building. The award of two grants and a small loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Community Development, Region IV, administered through the Idaho State Department of Commerce, have enabled the Center to have its own facility. The sale closed on 15 September 2016. Meal service is now offered two days per week with goals to increase the number of days as the need arises. Delivery of meals is also a goal and is in the process of development. Other services such as medical information, exercise classes, entertainment and space rental are also available. Membership is now up to 200 members with new people registering weekly. The Center staff is made up primarily of volunteers which includes the Board of Directors. We look forward to continued progress in providing services to the Senior Citizens of the Wendell, Idaho area.