February 7, 2023 at 3:49 p.m.
Melrose Senior Center luncheon brings people together
Six crockpots filled with homemade soups lined a Melrose Senior Center counter at the Melrose City Center Jan. 11. On the other end were plates filled with a variety of breads and a pan of brownies.
It was the monthly community soup and bread luncheon, started three years ago and held the second Wednesday of the month from September through May, said Liz Pohlmann, one of the original Senior Center Board members who were instrumental in starting the event. It was gaining momentum and then the coronavirus pandemic hit and was cancelled, but now it is up and running again with an average number of diners in the mid-40s.
Before the 11:30 a.m. serving time, people visited, as more diners trickled in until 1 p.m.
“We missed you last month,” Eileen Maus, board member pouring coffee, said to Mary Wenning as she went through the line with her sister, Alice Schaefer.
The Wednesday luncheon is for anyone of any age with a freewill offering accepted but not needed, said Ivanna Meyer, board member, stirring “Mini-Meatballs” soup she made, while fellow member Karen Mueller, who was overseeing the January lunch, prepared plates of breads.
“It’s a means of bringing people together,” Meyer said.
Senior Center Board members and other members donate soups and breads, for which there is a small stipend, Meyer said.
“Anyone can bring soup and bread,” she said.
A menu board near the start of the serving line indicated which soups were being served – “Mini-Meatball,” “Bacon Cheeseburger,” “Butternut Bisque,” “Salmon Chowder,” “Chicken Noodle” and “Beef Vegetable and Mushrooms.”
Meyer said each month there is a different variety of soups and breads served.
The board tries to incorporate an event or activity following the meal.
“Today we have people from the school board and the superintendent to talk about the referendum. A few months ago someone talked about coin collecting and identification,” Meyer said. “Next month we will have a class on sketching.”
People were encouraged to sign up for the sketching activity, offered by Melrose Area Arts Council members.
Pohlmann, MAAC member, said the idea is to offer community participation classes for people to “use their artistic muscles.”
“With different mediums,” added Mary Monroe, who brought her “Bacon Cheeseburger” soup to share with others.
They are calling it “Art in the Afternoon” and have purchased sketchpads, pencils and other materials for the class.
“We’re starting with a fruit bowl, and will have people here who know how to do that,” Pohlmann said.
Monroe said the goal is to hold “Art in the Afternoon” at different locations.
“This isn’t just a one time thing,” she said. “We would like to meet at the nursing home, at apartments.”
The idea behind these events is to promote interaction with community members.
“We welcome anyone and everyone,” Pohlmann said.