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Just in time for the holidays: Williams Senior Center sees upgrades

John Matthews (left) and Freddy Mattingly await their Thanksgiving lunch at the newly renovated senior center.  (Summer Serino/WGCN)

John Matthews (left) and Freddy Mattingly await their Thanksgiving lunch at the newly renovated senior center. (Summer Serino/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz – The Williams Senior Center has been getting some much needed attention with recent renovations inside and out, including a large kitchen remodel and updates to the exterior.

Jointly run by Coconino County and the city of Williams, the building has a fresh new look inside and out.

COVID19 had halted all lunch time activities at the center earlier this year. Activities resumed in the spring. Currently, Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS) staff are delivering Meals on Wheels to homebound clients, as well as offering congregate meals daily Monday through Friday at noon.

“We are excited to again offer lunchtime activities during the congregate mealtime. The City of Williams has begun to replace windows and fix the front of the building. The changes in the kitchen area are in the planning stage,” said Trish Lees, Communications Manager and Public Information Officer for Coconino County Health and Human Services.

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City of Williams staff replaced the aging exterior boards with new siding at the Williams Senior Center. (WGCN photo)

“The building looks so much nicer with the new siding on it, new windows, everything is really cool here,” said Freddy Mattingly, a member of the senior center.

In the works now is the kitchen renovation project. This renovation was made possible by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The County Facilities Department is working with Loven Construction in the design phase of the kitchen renovation. The large remodel will update 580 square feet, along with other kitchen renovations. The grant for the kitchen remodel is funded through Coconino County ARPA dollars. The City of Williams has been supportive of the project.

The lunch program will remain the same. Over 500 meals in a congregate setting are provided by the Williams Senior Center each month.

Additionally, over 340 meals

are provided through the Meals on Wheels program in Williams each month. Meals and CCHHS staff time are funded by Coconino County general fund and the CCHHS Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) contract for meals.

The CCHHS programs provided through the Williams Senior Center are managed from the Flagstaff Office. The onsite staff coordinate activities and oversee the congregate meal service and meal delivery.

“I love being a part of providing these important services to our seniors to ensure they have access to healthy meals. But these programs offer more than nutritious food,” said Lea Echeverria, Senior Nutrition Program Coordinator at the Williams Senior Center. “Our congregate meal gatherings provide opportunities for a connection with others. The Meals on Wheels program allows for a safety check and a needed human connection to our homebound seniors. The facility updates will allow us to provide the best experience for our seniors.”

Senior center patrons also approve of the recent changes.

“Our seniors have expressed their excitement at being able to gather again and to enjoy a nutritious meal with friends after COVID-19 necessitated a change in the routine. The lunchtime activities are popular with all,” said Lees.

Trivia activities is the newest hit at the center, an idea that was suggested by one of the regular seniors. The center also hosts monthly field trips to places such as Grand Canyon, Sedona, Snowbowl, Flagstaff Shopping, Lowell’s Observatory and Prescott just this year. These field trips were temporarily paused during the outbreaks of COVID19.

One of their most popular events is the Williams Senior Center Holiday Community Dinner, scheduled for December 14. Many members of the community attend this event to enjoy a holiday celebration with a delicious holiday dinner. Those interested in attending should send their RSVP to Lea Echeverria by calling (928) 679-7485 or emailing lecheverria@coconino.az.gov. Doors open at 11 a.m. and dinner is served at noon. There is a suggested donation of $4. The address is 850 W. Grant Ave.

Individuals age 60 and older are eligible to be a member of the senior center. Spouses of seniors or anyone with a disability are also allowed to join. To sign up for the lunch program, see Lea Echeverria at the senior center.

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