In the March Fountain: Silver Café going strong at Talon Hills
By Sarah Robertson
Feb. 12 was a pretty ordinary Wednesday for many people. Warm and sunny after weeks of below-normal temperatures. Olympics about half finished in Sochi, Russia.
But in the community room at Talon Hills Senior Housing, 25000 E. Hawkstone Loop in Liberty Lake, the atmosphere was far from ordinary. Folks were celebrating Valentine's Day a little early at the Silver Café location. Red and pink decorations and outfits abounded. Special treats, such as red velvet cake, lined the counters, and it felt like a truly special occasion.
The Silver Café is a place for seniors to enjoy a hot, nutritious meal together at a reasonable price. Operated by Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels, the Silver Café at Talon Hills is open to all seniors 60 years and older. The suggested donation is $3.50, but no one is turned away due to an inability to pay.
Long-time site manager Suzi Walden works at the Talon Hills site on Mondays and Wednesdays after the location moved from Liberty Lake City Hall a year ago. Her counterpart, Joanne Marabello, manages the site the rest of the week.
The move was a big change, but Silver Café patrons are happy with the new location. Margaret Boisvert likes that the new space has room for more people. She continues to enjoy lunch, and especially socializing, since the move. For Boisvert, who lives alone, it's nice to get out of the house and spend time with others.
The new space was designed for community use. Split into two main areas, there is the "dining room," where patrons are served lunch and eat, and an area meant to foster conversation and activities. It has comfy chairs and a television and is well stocked with games and puzzles. There is even a donated organ that everyone is quite proud of.
Walden and Marabello have worked diligently to make this Silver Café as welcoming as possible. Marabello, also a Talon Hills resident, loves that people are still gathered around a puzzle or a cup of coffee well after lunch and even after her shift ends. She came out of retirement to become a site manager at the Silver Café.
"The Lord gave it to me," she said. "I love working with people and helping others."
According to Walden, "Our meal site is a gathering place for seniors. The main purpose is so ‘no senior goes hungry' and to serve seniors, but one of the reasons people come is to socialize. We're one big family. "
In talking with patrons, the word "family" came up over and over again. Maybe it's the smell of a fresh cooked meal, the blessing before eating, or the way the volunteers move around the dining room as if they're serving dinner in their own homes. Whatever it is, it certainly keeps people coming back.
Walden attributes the success of the Talon Hills Silver Café to a group of very dedicated and long-serving volunteers. Most can't remember how long they have been volunteering, and Walden can't stop singing their praises.
"You can't do this kind of thing without volunteers," she said. "People are so generous with their time. We're a non-profit, and volunteers are the key to any non-profit organization's success."
Robert Perry, with a perpetual smile on his face, can't remember how long he's been volunteering at the Silver Café. He said it feels like only a year or two because of such a "nice bunch of people." He enjoys the company of the other patrons and enjoys the healthy lunch.
The food for all the Silver Cafes in Spokane County (there are 12) is prepared fresh daily at Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels' kitchen in east Spokane. The facility prepares nearly 1,200 meals every day for homebound seniors as well as those dining at the Silver Cafes.
Beyond the food, Talon Hills Silver Café also offers social activities. For instance, the second Wednesday of every month is bingo. It's played at no cost, and patrons bring "white elephant" gifts for prizes. The last Wednesday of the month also sees the celebration of all the birthdays for the month made just a little bit more special with a donated cake from the Liberty Lake Safeway. And whenever the directors can make arrangements, patrons are treated to all sorts of entertainment, such as John Labbe who played keyboard and sang at the "grand opening" when the Talon Hills location opened for lunch five days a week.
Marabello encouraged all seniors to visit.
"Everyone is invited," she said.
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IF YOU GO …
The Silver Café in Liberty Lake is open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every weekday, and lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. Talon Hills Senior Housing is located at 25000 E. Hawkstone Loop (take Appleway east as if you were headed to the state line, and Hawkstone will be on the right about one mile east of the stoplight at Appleway and Molter).
For more information, call 924-6976.