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Senior center in the works for Grass Valley

John Orona
Staff Writer

After more than a decade without a space to house all its programs, Gold Country Senior Services will purchase property for a senior center in Grass Valley with plans to open by the end of the year.

Formerly known as Gold Country Community Services, the nonprofit organization announced last week that its board of directors approved a name change and partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a loan program allowing it to buy the building at 231 Colfax Ave., formerly Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli.

“Since our focus is supporting seniors in our community, our new name reflects that mission,” board president Keith Overbey said in a press release.

The building is in escrow now, but details on its final cost were not available. In March last year the 4,700-square-foot property was listed for $1.45 million.

The organization previously operated out of several building at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in a campus-like configuration until 2009, when it moved due to rent costs. Since then activities, classes and programs like Meals on Wheels and Senior Firewood have had to migrate to separate locations for lack of space.

According to Gold Country Executive Director Janeth Marroletti, the biggest impact has been on the Meals on Wheels program, which has had to operate out of donated kitchen space in the apartment complex where it runs its Congregate Lunch Cafe program.

“For 10 years we’ve been using their kitchen and as you can imagine it keeps growing with more and more seniors,” Marroletti said. “We have reached capacity 10 years ago.”

Marroletti said it’s crucial for the Meals on Wheels program to have the ability to expand and meet the growing needs of food insecure seniors, particularly in rural, often isolated communities like North San Juan, Washington and Lake of the Pines, where volunteers can spend all day delivering food.

“Rural volunteers can spend their day going from community to community trying to feed people, that’s how big the scope is,” she said.

Gold Country hopes to bring all of its programs under one roof, but the focus will be on expanding its ability to feed people.

“Our priority is feeding people, we can’t even begin to do classes and activities until we make sure our seniors are fed,” Marroletti said. “We operate in 26 senior apartment complexes in our community, and we know in each one of them there’s more than just the seniors we deliver to that are in need of food. Just the thought of it can be overwhelming that there are that many people in need of food, but we have to start somewhere and the senior center is going to be that place.”

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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