United Way Spotlight

United Way Spotlight An agency which receives funding from United Way of Vermillion will be featured in this spotlight each week. The United Way of Vermillion Board of Directors wants the people of Vermillion to know more about the agencies that receive United Way funding and the services which they provide to the Vermillion community.

The 2001 United Way campaign will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 7 at the new USD Alumni/Foundation building on North Dakota Street with the "Taste of Vermillion" celebration which is open to the public. Come sample the culinary creations of Vermillion's restaurants and join the United Way in thanking the volunteers who give of their time to enhance the campaign efforts.

This week's featured agency is the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center which was started in 1969 in a meeting room in the First United Methodist Church. After a few months, the center was moved to a rented house at 216 East Main where it remained until 1975. Thanks to donations from many people and organizations, the present center was built at 320 West Main on the land upon which the "old" Austin School had stood prior to 1957 which was donated by the city of Vermillion. The original structure has had two additions to bring it to its present size of 6,370 square feet.

The center is used for many programs, primary among them recreation and nutrition programs for the community's older citizens. Dakota Senior Meals uses the center Monday through Friday to prepare and deliver Meals on Wheels and to serve the noon meal to 50 or 60 seniors each day.

The center is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays and is used evenings and weekends for special occasions and activities. The building is available to members and friends for billiards, card parties, china painting and other craft projects from time to time.

On the second Sunday of the month a men's group serves pancakes and sausage from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. as a fund-raising event which attracts many people on their way home from church. The roast beef dinner, which takes place on the fourth Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m., is very popular with approximately 100 people in attendance each month. If you care to come to the center for dinner, just call for reservations (624-8072).

The center's social, recreational, and nutritional programs plus the bi-annual medical check-ups for blood pressure, testing of blood sugar levels, and vision screening provided at the center allow a great many seniors in this community to live in their homes as contributing members of the community rather than in an institutional environment where their activities are necessarily restricted and their financial resources often exhausted.

Almost 30 percent of the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center's funding comes from United Way of Vermillion, the Vermillion Civic Council, the Clay County Commission, and the city of Vermillion. The rest of the funding comes from friends, members and fund-raising activities. Over the years the money from life memberships ($150) and funds from gifts and bequests have been invested and those investments yield another 5.3 percent of the center's annual income.

Plans for the future include increasing that figure to 25 percent. Each investment in a life membership or bequest to the center's trust fund will, over time, make that possible.

Come join the seniors at a fund-raising activity or sign up as a new member or just come for a visit and a tour of the building. You will meet some of the most interesting members of our community and will improve the quality of your life and also of ours.

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