Vincent celebrates opening of new Senior Center

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

VINCENT – For Vincent resident Annie Davis and her friends Jennie Reynolds and Ernestine Norwood, having an opportunity to gather with their friends multiple times per week is enjoyable no matter where the gathering place is. But starting on Aug. 1, the three women said they were certainly enjoying their new meeting place.

“This is very nice, and we are really enjoying it,” Davis said as she and the other members of the Vincent Senior Center chatted while enjoying breakfast while sitting at a meticulously decorated table at Vincent United Methodist Church. “The fellowship is what we enjoy. Just being with the other seniors and having a good time.”

For the first time in more than two decades, Vincent’s seniors have a new place to gather each weekday after being housed in the city’s housing projects for many years. After learning several months ago the senior center would have to vacate its old location, Vincent United Methodist Church Pastor Patti Copeland and the church’s congregation stepped up to help.

“We knew that the senior citizens would be without a place to meet for months while a new facility was found,” Copeland said. “So we brought it to the church, and we all decided to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.”

After the church decided it would serve as the new home of the city’s Senior Center, congregation members completed a significant amount of work to renovate the church’s basement over the past two months.

The new Senior Center includes a large meeting and fellowship room, a full kitchen, piano, large television and more to serve the about 20 seniors who come to the center each day. The RSVP organization recently donated a wheelchair-accessible bus to the center, and the Senior Center is sponsored by the M4A organization.

The Senior Center also serves as the headquarters for the city’s meals on wheels program, which delivers food to about 20 residents each day who are unable to leave their homes.

“This is such a warm atmosphere. This is a great place for our older residents to be able to be together and enjoy a good meal and fellowship, and I’m proud that the church has decided to take it over,” said Vincent Mayor Ray McAllister. “And as much as we want people to come out and enjoy the Senior Center, we know there are some people who can’t, and that’s why I’m passionate about meals on wheels. Sometimes, that’s the only people they see each day.”

The Senior Center also regularly holds special events, such as a visit from meteorologist James Spann later this month, and day trips.

“We love them, every one of them,” Copeland said. “They are the elders of the community. If we don’t take care of them, what does that say about us?”