Just three months after closing in March 2020, the Kuna Senior Center became the first in the valley to safely reopen due to the dedication of volunteers, staff, and the center’s board president Guy DiTorrice.
“Our ability to reopen was directly connected to the amount of technical support we got from the governor’s office, Central District Health, and Valley Regional Transit,” DiTorrice said. “We were so successful that we ended up loaning our reopening paperwork to three other senior centers.”
Due to the diligence of staff, volunteers, and visitors in following pandemic protocol, there have been no recorded COVID-19 cases among Kuna Senior Center members, visitors, or staff since reopening.
The volunteer board of directors, with DiTorrice at its head, has worked with staff and volunteers to re-initiate many activities that the Kuna seniors missed out on during the center’s closure.
Weekly field trips resumed, taking seniors to local museums, hot springs, and other senior centers.
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“The field trips are wonderful,” board member Linda Braswell said. “The trips to other senior centers are one of the most enjoyable things in the world.”
Meals continue to be a central aspect of the senior center, with hot lunches provided three days a week and regular donations from local farms and organizations.
“Coffee, of course, is always free,” DiTorrice said.
With vaccination rates on the rise, DiTorrice hopes the center can return to full capacity soon and make up for lost revenue. But for now, seniors are happy just to have a place to gather after over a year of pandemic isolation.
Sadie Dittenber covers Melba for the Kuna Melba News. She is a senior at The College of Idaho studying international political economy.