It’s been a challenge as the Daleville Senior Center members and staff have navigated the “new normal” created by the COVID pandemic. But the center, located at 18 Old Newton Road in Daleville, has remained a home away from home as members remained connected virtually during the shutdown and socially distanced as the center reopened for business.

“We are always happy to have new members and we do provide transportation to our center and home again for those who may not have a way,” said Laura Leger, director of the center since 2012. “We proudly serve the city of Daleville as well as Level Plains and parts of Clayhatchee.”

The center is open weekdays from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. and those age 60 and above are invited to attend any day, Leger said. There is no cost to become a member and no charge to attend. “It’s so easy to become a senior center member. All you do is come in and fill out a simple information form.”

Located in a former home which was donated to the city by the late Luther and Mary Hammock, the center offers a variety of activities to include daily bingo games, craft projects, quilting, puzzles, domino games, darts and corn hole toss.

“We also plan yearly parties, day trips, picnic days in the park and dinner nights out,” Leger said. “We serve a nutritional, well balanced meal Monday through Friday to on-site center participants and deliver meals to home bound clients through the Meals on Wheels program. We deliver meals to the homebound who are in need so please contact us at (334) 598-9197.”

The center closed to the public during the state mandated, COVID related shutdown beginning in March 2020. “I missed them all so much,” said Leger, who stayed in touch with members throughout the pandemic.

During the pandemic-created shutdown, the Daleville center continued to provide meals for members through curbside meal pickup at the center and continued delivery of meals to about 25 members in the Daleville, Clayhatchee and Level Plains area.

The senior center is under the umbrella of the Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging, an agency serving senior citizens in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties.

The senior center provides meals and activities but can reach out to SARCOA for additional assistance. “We work hand in hand with local agencies to help promote the well being of our clients,” Leger said. “SARCOA has a whole spectrum of help they can provide.”

A Navy veteran who has lived in Daleville since 1992, Leger began working with the senior center as a bus driver in 2008. “It wasn’t anything that I ever planned to do. The opportunity sort of fell into my lap,” she said with a smile. “But I love it here.”

In addition to recreational activities, the center provides scheduled transportation to the Daleville grocery store and post office and into Enterprise so members can pay their Alabama Power bills.

Leger said that she loves working with the seniors who she calls “all my grandmas and grandpas.”

The seniors call themselves “a very active, young at heart group,” Leger added with a smile. “And I guess that is really what they are.”

Leger said that if a senior citizen who is not receiving a meal would like to be part of the program they can call (334) 598-9197. “We will make arrangements,” she said. “We don’t want anyone in our area going hungry if we can help it.”

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