The Twin Valley Senior Center offers more than a hot meal three days a week. Twin Valley, like many senior centers around Vermont, offers older Vermonters a place to learn, stay active and connected, socialize, and volunteer.
According to Betsey Bolt, a Twin Valley volunteer for the last four years, “My work is valued here, and so am I.”
Bolt takes care of the organization’s newsletter, social media, and website. She has also used the services at Twin Valley.
“When I had surgery a few years back, I was immobile. I don’t have a car and I couldn’t get on and off the bus. It was a big deal for me to have access to meals delivered to my house by Twin Valley.”
Twin Valley has a contract with Meals on Wheels and delivers hot and frozen meals three days a week to seniors in Woodbury, Calais, East Montpelier, Plainfield, Marshfield, and Cabot. Deliveries are made regardless of a client’s ability to pay.
Twin Valley also runs a congregate meal site at its new location in East Montpelier. “The new space has allowed us to grow and grow,” said Rita Copeland, executive director and one of only two paid staff. Rita added, “We offer meals three times a week, and with home delivery, we average 1,000 meals each month.”
The other paid employee is Joni Brown, the cook. With the help of 30 volunteers who provide 700 to 800 hours of service each month, Twin Valley provides delicious healthy meals that are carefully crafted to ensure the right nutritional balance for the center’s core demographic.
The center also offers exercise classes, as movement has been linked to the overall health and wellness of older adults. Bone Builders and Tai Chi are two of the most popular series and are offered two or three times a week. All classes are free and open to the public.
“We are looking out for the health and well-being of all our seniors,” said Rita as she described the organization’s annual health fair.
Organizations such as hospitals, professionals such as acupuncturists and nutritionists, and other businesses offering health services for seniors, come together to offer information and freebies for the Twin Valley seniors.
“It’s been a great success. Our seniors love it and leave with new tips and strategies for staying healthy.”
The best part of all? The senior center, in partnership with GMTA and the Council on Aging, offers free transportation to the center for meals and other programming.
“Transportation is a huge issue for our seniors,” said Copeland. “We serve communities that span 633 square miles. Many of our seniors don’t have cars, they live alone, and they might not have children or other family to help out. We are their lifeline to food and services.”
When asked why she volunteers and visits Twin Valley, Betsey Bolt had this to say: “For many of us, the conversations at the center are the only ones we will have in a day or week’s time. For many of the home delivery folks— the same is true. Isolation can lead to depression, so it’s important to stay connected.”