BELFAST — Information, experience, connections, relationships, community service — and free lunch. All are some of the services provided by the nonprofit Belfast Senior Center.

“Our mission is to help older adults lead vibrant and independent lives,” said Senior Center Vice-President Gloria Guyette. “We offer social engagement, entertainment, outreach and community outreach for adults 60 years and older.”

The Senior Center greets its clientele each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., serving and welcoming seniors from Belfast, and the greater Belfast area. The organization uses the Belfast Boathouse for gathering during the warm weather months. This year, they will move those gathering to the First Baptist Church in Belfast from January through March.

“We offer a lot of information,” said Senior Center President Loren Van Ness. “We’ve had our local representative come in to speak, we’ve offered information on real estate deduction and Medicare. We provide a connection between seniors and the services available in the community.”

Seniors attending the weekly group meetings can receive information on programs, play games and socialize, or find out about community service opportunities. Coffee and tea are provided, and a free lunch is served, courtesy of the Belfast Area Soup Kitchen.

The Senior Center recently held a silent auction/craft fair/flea market at the Belfast Boathouse. The proceeds help the center provide programs and insurance.

The Belfast Senior Center recently held a silent auction/craft fair at the Belfast Boathouse. Photo by Michelle Christian

Much of the information gathered at Senior Center meetings is word-of-mouth.

“A lot of times, someone has had prior experience with a certain program,” Guyette said. “They will share that with someone else, or the group.”

The goal of the organization is to build community among a senior group diverse in age and backgrounds. Social engagement is just one method of achieving this goal. For others, community service opportunities achieve a similar end.

“We have received a lot of support of many in the community,” Guyette said. “We show our appreciation by giving back.”

Donations from community partners assist the Belfast Senior Center with fundraising efforts. Photo by Michelle Christian

Tying and placing bows on wreaths, answering letters to Santa (every one of them), delivering fresh produce to other seniors, and wrapping gifts are just a few of the community service activities undertaken by the Senior Center.

Guyette says a major function of the center is attracting older adults who may be shut-ins and connecting them with social engagement in a comfortable environment.

“It’s a place to share skills, history and the wealth of knowledge gathered through the years,” she said. “It’s also a place to learn from locals with experience in their fields who can answer their questions.”

The Senior Center is open to adults 60 and older. COVID vaccinations are required.