A lively first ever meeting of the Friends of the Marion Council on Aging (FMCOA) was held on Wednesday evening at the Music Hall. The organization has been around for more than 15 months and held a first annual meeting to bring residents up to date on their activities.
Over 50 residents attended the meeting, which opened with president Sue Wood welcoming the crowd and introducing Treasurer Priscilla Ditchfield and Vice President Jerry Garcia. Wood noted that the primary goal of the group is to fundraise and support the COA because as a town tax supported organization, the COA cannot fundraise.
Wood discussed the five committees, including long-range planning, communication, membership, fundraising, and enrichment. Anyone interested in serving on any of these committees should contact FMCOA at P.O. Box 937, Marion, MA 02738 or stop by the Town House and speak with COA director Susan Schwager.
Under long-range planning, Wood said that the committee is researching the idea of a community or senior center in town.
“The committee is in the very, very early research phase,” Wood said. Residents spoke up and agreed that the town needs a place for older adults to gather and socialize. Added Wood: “One of our goals for 2014 is to get the ball rolling and focus on a campaign for a senior or community center.”
A presentation by Fairhaven COA Director Ann Silvia followed the committee reports. Silvia spoke about the Fairhaven Senior Center and how it is used by residents for meals, social day activities, bingo, bridge, yoga, exercise classes, and much more. “It’s a very important part of their lives,” Silvia said.
Outreach worker Ora Mae Torres spoke about the COA and said the number of older adults age 60 and up increased in 2012 from 1,513 to 1,635. “We expect to continue to see increases in the number and types of services provided by the COA so that Marion older adults will be able to continue to age in place and remain in their homes,” Torres said.
The COA vans provided upward of 5,996 rides in 2012, which is an increase of 733 rides, or 14 percent increase over the 2011 figures. In addition to van rides, the council van drivers delivered more than 5,340 meals in 2012.
For more information on the FMCOA, visit their website at firstname.lastname@example.org. Membership flyers can be picked up at the town library and at the COA office at the Town House.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry