Diana McDonald is acutely aware of the importance of community support in regard to keeping the Butler County Senior Service Center afloat.

Although it’s provided a portion of its budget by the Butler County Board of Supervisors, the senior center every year has to do a lot of its own heavy lifting in terms of acquiring the necessary dollars to keep operating the way it wants to.

“We have to do so much (allotted) fundraising within our budget just to keep the Center going,” said McDonald, who has served as director of the senior center for the past four years.

On Sunday, a valuable form of senior center income returned with the offering of a community brunch. While 35-50 individual meals are sold daily at the Senior Service Center – in addition to 20-25 delivered meals, from September through April each year the ante is upped just a little in terms of trying to provide community members with tasty meals while simultaneously raising valuable dollars.

“Yesterday was our brunch,” McDonald said on Monday during an interview with The Banner-Press. “… We start it in September and go through April. Just with all the ball games and other things going on during the summertime it just gets to be a lot, between our employees and volunteers.”

McDonald said that she was pleased with the attendance of Sunday’s brunch, adding that generally, the Senior Service Center can make about $600-$700 from each event.

“We had a really good turnout yesterday, we had 120 people,” she said. “I think the most that we have ever had is 175, and so, usually if we have over 100 (people) we will be in pretty good shape in terms of making money. That way we don’t feel like it was a waste of time."

While the brunch is a center staple, other fundraising opportunities are also presented throughout the year. Several Burger Bashes are normally held and on Thursday and Friday, a garage sale is being held onside inside of the Senior Service Center Garage, 592 D St., in David City.

The spacious garage setup was built about two years ago in collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Transportation, which funded about 80 percent of the project. The space holds the center’s four transportation vans that for a low rate take people all around town, as well as on weekly treks to places like Omaha and Lincoln.

Longtime center volunteer Jackie Mahlin said she used to help out quite a bit with the driving people around and delivering meals, but now, the 82-year-old is happy to just help out at the office desk and with some other less strenuous tasks one to two times weekly.

She said that she always enjoys being at the Senior Services Center and that it’s a valuable asset to the community. When she first got involved, she noted how there was a large group of widowers who gravitated toward the facility in an effort to find some real camaraderie.

“They came and played pool and got their mail and played cards,” Mahlin said.

McDonald echoed Mahlin’s thoughts, noting how that without an outlet like the Senior Service Center many people getting older would get held up in their homes and not receive important social stimulation.

This is why it’s vital for people to continue supporting the Senior Service Center’s programming and fundraising endeavors. If its door ever were to close, there would be a major community void, McDonald said.

“It’s nice to have the community come out and support us because then they can come and see what our senior center actually is and that it’s a nice place for the seniors to come,” McDonald said. “And not only for the good meals they get but for the social activity that they also get when they are here …

“People get wrapped up with staying at home, so it’s great that this helps them get out so they can just talk to other people.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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