Staying Afloat: Fundraisers, donations help senior center

GLOVERSVILLE – The Senior Citizens Service Center of Gloversville & Fulton County is struggling financially, but new efforts to seek donations and raise money are helping the center stay open, center officials say.

The senior center held a Chili Trifecta fundraiser last Tuesday to raise money. The event featured a variety of chili, including venison, beef and vegetarian.

“Our belief behind these lunches and fundraisers is to get our standing out in the community,” board member Charlie Potter said. “We are making a gold- plated effort to support the center because so many seniors around here count on it.”

Potter said the event was well attended by more than 100 guests. The center collected about $700, which will be used on the senior center expenses.

Before the event, he sold about 60 tickets, he said. However, during the actual event, an additional 60 people showed up.

“We hit it right on the money because we didn’t have any chili left by the end of it,” Potter said. “It was pleasantly surprising to see how successful it was; you really get a pleasure out of seeing the support.”

Potter said he and the board would like to hold events like this during the colder months for the community.

He said he’d like to see each member of the center’s board take the lead in organizing something.

The center uses a variety of fundraisers to generate money, but fundraisers alone can’t cover all the operational costs, said Eugene Reppenhagen, president of the Board of Directors.

The building’s mortgage is covered by the current tenant, the Fulmont Community Action Agency.

The primary income for the senior center has been through donations and fundraisers, Reppenhagen said.

He said the senior center receives $7,500 from the town of Johnstown and an additional $500 from the town of Day.

The center asked Gloversville to contribute in November. The city so far has taken no action on the request.

Mayor Dayton King today said he expects the Common Council to talk about the issue at the next meeting. He said the city could propose something formally by the end of February.

The senior center board has brought on five new members over the last year, and the members have donated $15,000 to keep the center open, Reppenhagen said.

He said the budget for 2013 hasn’t been decided yet, but he expects it to be much lower this year without an executive director.

Center officials announced in October it had eliminated Executive Director Catherine Mueller’s job in an effort to cut costs and keep the center open.

The budget for 2012 was $83,000, and in 2011, Mueller made about $24,000, Reppenhagen said. He said operating the center costs about $8,000 a month.

The center now has two part- time employees on staff, Reppenhagen said.

He said the center will remain open through 2013. He also said the center is up to date on its bills and has money in the bank, which hasn’t happened in more than five years.

“We are doing well with our efforts to keep getting donations and fundraisers,” Reppenhagen said. “We have also been looking for grants and gifts from individuals and businesses.”

Reppenhagen said the center allows senior citizens and younger people to use the center for parties, meetings and other activities. He said many clubs and organizations use the facility for meetings regularly.

He said the board is considering holding a Sweet Heart luncheon or High Tea event in February to continue fundraising efforts.

The center is open from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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