GOLDEN HILL — State Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, visited the Golden Hill Good Times Senior Center Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the St. John’s United Methodist Church fellowship hall.
The fellowship hall, located at 3244 Kirwan’s Neck Road, near Golden Hill, becomes a place for fun games of bingo, meals and togetherness each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The senior center began 12 years ago, and serves an important role in the lives of Dorchester County senior citizens. Many of the seniors are widows. But each week, they come to Golden Hill for a day with what many call their extended family.
“It is important for everyone to have that connectedness and relationships in a small community,” Eckardt said. “When you lose a spouse and family member and your alone for long periods of time, then people’s health decline.
“These folks are keeping each other energized, entertained and enlightened,” she said. “They care about each other. This is their family. They created their own bonds to look out for each other. That is love and compassion in its real true form.”
St. John’s United Methodist Church opens its fellowship hall to the Good Times seniors at no cost. The hall features an open room for activities and a kitchen where the seniors serve lunch. They bring covered dishes and also share a main course such as pizza, fried chicken or crab cakes.
The members are grateful to the church for opening its fellowship hall. They take collections to give donations back to the church.
“This is a place where we have a great camaraderie,” member Lois Zinkhan said. “We are family here. This feels like home to many of us.
“We are still going strong,” she said. “This is a lifeline for togetherness. We want the community to know they can come and join us because we want to be that extended family for them.”
In the center’s earlier days, the group used to take trips to places around the Eastern Shore such as Ocean City. But Dorchester County budget cuts removed the senior center’s funding about seven years ago so the group sticks to the St. John’s United Methodist Church fellowship hall.
During Eckardt’s visit, the members shared their views about how life could be made better. They spoke about food banks, coupons for farmers markets and services for seniors.
“If you are not from the Eastern Shore, you won’t realize how rural Dorchester County is,” Eckardt said. “It takes a good 30 to 40 minutes to travel from Golden Hill to Cambridge. Having a senior center down here really is a big help for the folks living down here.”
The location does not restrain the group’s enthusiasm and creativity. Throughout the year, seniors pick themes for different times of the year. They have fancy hat days, costume parties for St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween, and host special meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The main event each week is bingo. The seniors do not just play for pride. Member Norma Lee Robinson gathers a much candy, snacks and gifts for bingo prizes. A winning card will get you a pick from a table full of goodies.
The only source of funding for the Golden Hill Good Times Senior Center comes from donations. The money donated gives the seniors a chance to have the community lunches and do different activities.
“The only way we survive here is through donations,” Robinson said.
Donations to the Golden Hill Good Times Senior Center should be made out to treasurer Carolyn Noland at 1728 Hoopersville Road, Hoopersville, MD, 21634. For questions about the center and donations, Noland can be reached at 410-397-3041.
For more information about St. John’s United Methodist Church, visit the church’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stjohnsgoldenhillor or call 443-205-0638. The church pastor is Dan Gustafson.