Senior center’s breakfasts are among its popular events

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Willington - posted Tue., Jan. 22, 2013
‘Pancake Man’ Frank Luchon (left) and Warren Barsaleau manned the griddles in the kitchen. Photos by Annie Gentile.
‘Pancake Man’ Frank Luchon (left) and Warren Barsaleau manned the griddles in the kitchen. Photos by Annie Gentile.

It was a familiar scene on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Willington Senior Center, where officers and volunteers put on an every-other-month all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.

Secretary Jean LaFramboise held her customary seat at the entryway selling tickets - as well as tickets to the upcoming Feb. 9 spaghetti supper. She also was selling copies of an attractive Willington Senior Center cookbook, with recipes from members and friends. In the kitchen, Frank Luchon, a.k.a. “the Pancake Man,” tended to the griddle with Warren Barsaleau. Claire Pelletier and other volunteers tended to the serving stations, doling out pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and home fries. Others made sure there was plenty of juice and coffee ready.

“We’ve been doing this for a number of years now, four or five at least,” said Pelletier. “Today was a big sell-out. We had to set up extra tables to handle the crowd,” she said, adding that they have a good crew of about 10 or 12 volunteers who help make things runs smoothly.

The pancake breakfasts have proven to be a good lure, bringing in people of all ages in to find out about the many different activities the Senior Center offers.

“We have a 14-passenger van and do a number of trips,” said Laurel Millix, who organizes those activities and also serves on the kitchen committee. Besides monthly trips to Mohegan Sun Casino, the center has also taken members up to Salem Crofts Inn for a dinner and show.

“We do a tag sale in April. We have yoga and Tai Chi classes, Wii on Thursdays, and we play bingo after some of the meetings,” said Millix. “We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries on the first Mondays of the month.” On third Wednesdays, Millix said they hold meetings and bring in guest speakers who talk about a variety of educational topics. Past guest speakers have included a representative from the Visiting Nurses Association, a state trooper, and someone who provided information about 911 services. “Sometimes we have entertainment too. We try to offer a mix,” she said.

Every Wednesday, the Senior Center offers its members free baked goods from the local Big Y supermarket, and every other Wednesday, they get a visit from Foodshare.

Besides their regular activities, the Senior Center also offers a few surprises from time to time - including in the past an antiques appraisal night where, for a nominal fee, members brought  in up to three items to be appraised by an area auctioneer. The fundraiser proved to be not only interesting and educational, but a great opportunity for seniors to socialize and share their stories about their often unique possessions. All of these activities create opportunities for socializing and learning and exemplify what a Senior Center is all about.

Luchon said at their most recent count, they had about 186 members.

“We’re always looking for more people to join us,” said Millix. “It’s always a lot of fun here.”

The Willington Senior Center is located at 60 Old Farms Road. For more information, call 860-429-8321.

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