Despite the changes COVID-19 has brought about, to which most of us have managed to adapt, life has continued. And, like often happens during tough times, the community has come together. Many community organizations and individuals have stepped up to the plate to help sustain people’s standards of living, to let them know they are not alone in the world, and to make sure necessities, such as food, are taken care of. The North Beach Senior Center in Ocean Shores is one of these organizations doing their part to help others during the pandemic.
While the word “senior” is a part of the facility’s name, the Center’s purpose is to serve the community as a whole, regardless of age, explains Jeff Moyer, director of the North Beach Senior Center. Moyer settled in Ocean Shores roughly five years ago, having owned local property for some time before. A bit over four years ago, his wife, Maureen, decided that she would like to donate some of her time to benefit the local community. She found a niche at the North Beach Senior Center as a volunteer cook. Soon thereafter, Jeff joined her and provided dish washing services.
As time went by, and Jeff became increasingly familiar with the operation of the Center, he began to see areas upon which he could improve. This led to him taking on increased duties and responsibility, ultimately leading to his current position as director.
Changing Services to Meet the Needs of the Community
Some of the services the North Beach Senior Center has provided in the past have included providing low-cost lunches to the community six days a week (with breakfasts being served on Sundays), as well as various social and informative gatherings. These have largely been suspended for the time being, due mostly to space constraints and the inability to social distance.
With COVID-19, food distribution for the community has now taken priority. Currently, the Center is providing a bi-weekly food giveaway, in conjunction with the Ocean Shores Food Bank. This works well strategically, as it allows the distribution of food types (such as produce) that would otherwise go bad were it only distributed on the food bank’s open days. It also serves as a beacon to draw in volunteers, who see it both as an opportunity to serve their community as well as gain some social interaction. Jeff told me that the Center provides volunteers with lunch on food distribution days.
“Back in May, I read an article about USDA food distribution so we reached out to the company that was doing local distribution, who got the contract,” explains Moyer. “The USDA provides a grant to a distributor.” The Senior Center was offered three semi-truck loads per week, which far exceeded the needs of the community. Ultimately, one truckload per week was settled upon, which was handed out on Saturdays, until roughly a month ago. At this point, a different distribution company received the grant, and quantities changed slightly.
The food boxes are comprised of dairy, protein and produce. The boxes weigh roughly 22 pounds each. Many recipients share with their neighbors, as the enclosed quantities exceed what they alone can consume, Moyer shares.
In addition to food distribution, the North Beach Senior Center is home to a thrift store. The thrift store is volunteer run (as is virtually the entire operation), and takes donations of all kinds. Proceeds fund day to day operating expenses, such as water and power bills.
The North Beach Senior Center
885 Ocean Shores Blvd NW, Ocean Shores