There was plenty of cake and memory-making to go around last week as the East Windsor Township Senior Center celebrated its 15th anniversary.
About 100 senior citizens turned out for the celebration at the senior center, Lanning Boulevard. The center serves senior residents of East Windsor and Hightstown.
“Welcome to our senior center,” East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov said, as the seniors applauded. “It’s pretty amazing to realize this is the 15th anniversary of our senior center. We remember when we broke ground and we remember when it opened. It really is quite outstanding.”
The mayor pointed out that one reason the senior center has been so successful is the volunteers who pitch in and help out wherever they are needed.
“We are really grateful. We couldn’t have a senior center without the help and support (of the volunteers). Some people go above and beyond. Some people are beloved. I get calls about them all the time,” Mironov said.
Mironov called on volunteers Fay Fisch and Kathleen Griffin and presented them each with a bouquet of flowers. Fisch was awarded the 2018 Sylvia Weiss Senior Citizen Award for Outstanding Service as a Volunteer.
Mironov said East Windsor’s original senior citizens center was in a small house on Dutch Neck Road near the Lee Turkey Farm. Everyone was together in the one-room building, whether they were playing card games or engaged in other activities, she said.
But the senior citizens were outgrowing the building, she said.
That is when the chief executive officer of Springpoint Senior Living, the successor company to Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey, agreed to donate land to East Windsor for a new senior citizens center. The company operates the Meadow Lakes continuing care retirement community in the township.
“He said he knew this was something that was important to East Windsor,” Mironov said.
The chief executive officer made it “perfectly clear” the company was not going to pay for the building, so municipal officials set out to search for grants. The township identified a series of grants from Mercer County, the state and the federal government. The rest of the money to pay for the facility was raised privately.
Ground was broken and the building, which is about 11,000 square feet, was constructed. The East Windsor Township Senior Center opened its doors in 2003.
“The center is here for you. That’s the whole point of it,” Mironov told the senior citizens last week.
The dream and the vision of the senior center is for the seniors to have a second home, a place to go and meet old friends and to make new ones, she said.
There are opportunities to learn new things, to be entertained and to go on trips, the mayor said. Seniors can read a book or watch television. It’s a place they can feel really good about, she said.
“I hope it has served that purpose,” Mironov said.