Senior center starts new venture to help hungry

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Mississippi County Senior Citizens Center wants to make sure the seniors in Blytheville have plenty of food to fuel their workouts.

"East Arkansas Area (Agency) on Aging got a grant from Walmart to feed the hungry, 60 and over," said Barbara Mitchell, the Senior Advocate at the Blytheville Senior Citizens Center.

A $100,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation funds the three food pantries in Mississippi County located in Blytheville, Osceola and Manila, in addition to more than two dozen other senior centers in the agency's 12-county service area.

"Seniors spend most of their money on medication. So, they run out of money more quicker than a younger person," Mitchell said.

Since its start on January 25, hundreds of seniors have taken advantage of the new service at the senior centers in Mississippi County, according to Mitchell.

"The first month we served about 80 because it was new. This month it was about 120, and we got three centers. The one in Osceola, I think she served probably 150. Manila served probably 80 to 100 people," said Mitchell. "We give them enough food for a week."

Sixty-eight Carl Lucy and his wife have been visiting and volunteering at the Blytheville center for the past eight years. He said he is grateful for the extra help.

"It might be cereal, peanut butter, canned goods, pancake mix, and we got hoagies the first month," he said. "It's a good little bag of groceries for everyone."

Several activities are offered at the centers to keep the seniors' minds and bodies active, such as exercise classes, cooking classes and tournaments for baseball, kickball and Wii bowling.

"It's a good place for the seniors to come. We come and play games and have a good time," Lucy said. "It keeps you active instead sitting at home not doing anything."

The food pantry at the Blytheville center is open every third Wednesday of every month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Click here for the East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging list of food pantries for seniors.

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