Ed Monroe was one of three seniors that made the trip to the Valier Civic Center for lunch on April 1. 

Seniors in Valier have missed the companionship they enjoy while lunching at the Civic Center. Finally, that opportunity resumed on April 1.

“It’s been almost 13 months,” explained Karen Lynch who prepared a lunch of pizza, salad, and dessert. Since the pandemic restrictions were put in place in March 2020, Karen has been delivering lunches to 18 or more senior citizens in the community. This service is provided five days per week, excluding holidays. 

Only three seniors ventured to the Civic Center, which is located at Senior Center (Civic Center) 514 Montana St., for lunch on opening day. Ed Monroe, Betty Olson, and Jerry Peterson were happy to be together, even if they were spread apart. 

Tables were arranged to allow for a minimum of six feet between diners. Individual bottles of hand sanitizer were provided and labeled for attendees, and masks were worn until patrons were seated. 

Monroe said, “We’ve been getting the food, but it’s being together that we missed. I guess it’s the socializing that was missed.”

Olson had the same sentiment. “I don’t even like pizza,” but it wasn’t about the food. She was just happy to be able to join with the others. 

Lynch, who prepares and delivers the meals without an assistant, explained one of the biggest challenges now will be adjusting her delivery route to coordinate with the in-person schedule. “I think some of the seniors are still nervous about getting out, and some might not ever come back.” 

Another hurdle may present itself if a lot of attendees begin showing up while social distancing requirements remain in place. There is only so much room to spread out inside the Civic Center, but as we’ve all learned over the past 13 months, adjustments can be made. It just takes a little creativity.

If you would like to participate, lunch is served Monday-Friday at noon, excluding holidays. Seniors eat for $5 and patrons under age 60 can enjoy a lunch for $6. Please call ahead. For Meals on Wheels call (406) 279-3527 on Monday through Friday before 10 a.m. 

The weekly menu appears in the paper each week under the Savvy Senior column.

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