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Buellton Senior Center gets $5K boost to emergency relief fund

Buellton Senior Center gets $5K boost to emergency relief fund

071920 Vikings donate to Buellton Senior Center

Buellton Senior Center Executive Director Pam Gnekow, second from right, accepts the $5,000 donation from Vikings members, from left, Chief Richard Kline, Charity Committee Chairman Max Hanberg and Treasurer Rick Krost.

The Vikings of Solvang provided a recent financial boost to the Buellton Senior Center's emergency relief fund, which addresses the growing food insecurity of its senior membership during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Pam Gnekow, senior center executive director, said the $5,000 donation accepted earlier this month will help them afford fresh vegetables, milk and egg provisions to be distributed to more than triple the number of seniors since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Nobody was delivering to Los Alamos," said Gnekow of the center's Meals on Wheels program, "and they asked, 'Will you [deliver to] us, too?'"

Since March 9, Gnekow said the Buellton Senior Center has distributed to seniors throughout the Santa Ynez Valley, including Los Alamos, with the help of several key community partners, including Veggie Rescue, Bethania Church and Jordano's.  

In addition to drop-off and food pickup services provided on an ongoing basis to those in need, the center continues to monitor the mental health of its senior members, both with check-in calls and monthly socially-distant "dinner dates."

Last month, Los Arroyos provided the center with savory Mexican meals and Corona beer with lime to deliver to seniors for dinner, according to Gnekow.

"It was a lot of fun," she said. "This is one way we can continue to let our seniors know that we're here for them and they are not alone."

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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