Holy Trinity Lutheran Church created the group S.N.O.R.E to get senior citizens doing exactly the opposite.
The group meets monthly on the first, second and third Thursdays to get seniors out of their daily routine and with others to socialize and enjoy a home-cooked meal together.
The church used to be a congregate meal site for the Aiken Area Council on Aging, but as a result of a funding cut, the location was closed in January 2011 and attendees were forced to travel out of the city to another meal site.
Holy Trinity wanted to get another program started for seniors, and with the help of a church member who provided the “seed money” to get it off the ground, S.N.O.R.E (Seniors Noticing Other Retirees) began at the end of May.
Each week, about a dozen seniors attend the event, and the Rev. James Glander said he hopes the program will grow. The program is open to the community, and while some donate toward each day’s meal, a donation is not required.
Church member Gary Watson serves as the chef for the group, providing anything from salmon to chicken with asparagus.
“He loves to cook,” Glander said.
S.N.O.R.E is led by Tom and Mim Reilly and Keith and Char’Rae Bethke. They plan different activities for the event, such as a version of the Price Is Right they played on June 21. They have also done card games and chair exercises, and plan to bring in people to teach self-defense, line dancing and other activities. In the fall, they plan to do gold panning.
Mim said they would like to bring someone in to teach seniors how to use the computer. She said the goal is to keep activities constantly changing so that participants will keep coming.
Jan and Dave Ford were part of the group that used to meet with the Aiken Area Council on Aging and have attended S.N.O.R.E since May.
“I think it’s great and it’s something that the seniors need,” Jan said.
Dave said that he comes for the camaraderie. “I like joking with everybody, making fun of them and them making fun of me,” he said.
Jan, who is still employed, said S.N.O.R.E is the highlight of her week.
Those who don’t get out of the house much, or are not able to make their own meals, would really benefit from the group, Jan said.
The group meets from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call the church at (803) 279-0765.