SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Senior Center is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to commemorate the center’s 40th anniversary. So far, the Holiday Spirit Campaign has garnered $13,510 of the targeted $40,000.
“We did a Holiday Spirit Campaign last year as well,” Senior Center Development Associate Brittany Belmarez explained, adding this year’s increased goal is a tribute to four decades of service. Belmarez said the center has been a staple in the community long enough that now it is beginning to serve people who helped shape the center in its early days.
The Sheridan Senior Center derives from a group called the Senior Citizen’s Coordinating Council, formed in 1972. The group identified a need within the community for greater public services to the elderly population. At the time, services and social outlets for seniors were informal or nonexistent. The next year, a national law titled the Older American’s Act dedicated federal funds for programs that serve seniors, and the same year, the Senior Center was officially established as a nonprofit organization.
Services offered by the organization were decentralized at first. There was an office space at city hall and a meal site opened at The Salvation Army Community Center. In 1980, Optional One-Cent Sales Taxes, along with private donations, were used to build the initial building that now houses the center. Renovations in 1990, 2001, 2003 and 2004 expanded the facility and parking lot into what it is today: an expansive community resource that hosts a large dining area, multiple public meeting and activity rooms, daytime elder care, a hub for public transportation and a central location for outreach services around the county.
Belmarez said the robust senior services established in Sheridan county reflect a continued relevancy for senior care in the area.
The 2010 U.S. Census indicates Sheridan has a concentration of people age 60 and older that is almost double the national average. Sheridan has strong components that make it a retirement community, including four golf courses, a scenic view, a large local hospital and a scenic mountain setting.
Belmarez said the funds generated from the seasonal fund drive will be applied toward the center’s diverse meal programs, including meal deliveries to homes, daybreak and activities hosted at the center.
According to statistics on the Senior Center’s website, the center’s is funded largely by federal, state and local government funds. Private support constitutes approximately 17 percent of the facility’s total budget and revenue from programs offered there accounts for anther 18 percent.
Tax deductible donations to the center’s Holiday Spirit Campaign can be mailed directly to the center at 211 Smith Street. Online donations can be accepted at www.sheridanseniorcenter.org.