LYNNWOOD — During holiday seasons past, it was Wight’s Wonderland of Christmas. Transformed, the former home and garden store is now Homage Senior Services.
Established in 1974, the nonprofit helps older adults and those with disabilities to live independently. Its programs include Meals on Wheels, Dial-A-Ride-Transportation (DART), home modifications and repair, mental health services, wellness classes, multicultural gatherings and more.
Steve McGraw, Homage Senior Services CEO, said during a recent tour of the agency’s new digs that people still show up looking for Christmas trees. A patio area where gardeners once shopped and people found fresh-cut trees before Christmas now leads to a parking area for Meals on Wheels and DART vehicles.
In August, Homage Senior Services hosted an open house at its new high-profile location, 5026 196th St. SW, the former site of Wight’s Home & Garden. A popular destination that lured shoppers from far beyond Lynnwood, the nursery founded by Chauncey Wight had been there since the 1960s. Each holiday season, the store became a winter wonderland. Owners Jim and Dorothy Anderson, who bought Wight’s in 1983, closed their store in April 2017.
“We still keep in touch. Jim Anderson was here for the opening,” McGraw said. Acknowledging that the closure of Wight’s saddened the community, he said many have shared that they’re “happy it was going to be put to good purpose.”
Last year, the nonprofit changed its name from Senior Services of Snohomish County to Homage Senior Services. The name is meant to recognize and honor the contributions and diversity of older people and those with disabilities.
The new site, more than 3 acres now owned by the nonprofit, has brought more clients to an agency that was once harder to find.
“We used to be in three locations,” McGraw said. The Center for Healthy Living, in partnership with Verdant, was once on Alderwood Mall Boulevard. It’s now in a spacious, beautifully renovated room in the Homage building.
“It’s the only multicultural senior center in the county, and only one of three in the state,” McGraw said. At culturally specific gatherings, scheduled meals are served at the Center for Healthy Living to groups from Chinese, Filipino, Latino/Hispanic, Korean and Vietnamese backgrounds.
“Each group has a different day,” McGraw said. “A lot of older adults still speak their native languages, and are able to socialize.”
McGraw is pleased the remodeled building — which incorporates a skylight, garden windows and other touches from the old business — is attracting the attention of people in need. “We were hopeful when we looked at this property that it would bring more exposure and awareness,” he said. “We have more walk-ins and more calls for assistance than we had before — and more demand for our services.”
Bruce Rhodes, a Meals on Wheels driver and delivery man, is retired from driving a cement truck. “This helps me feel useful. Today I had 30 clients,” the 64-year-old said. “I needed to do something that gave me a sense of purpose.”
Rhodes said some clients are as grateful for the company as they are for the meals, which are delivered without charge.
“You build a rapport with these people. They’re letting you into their home every week,” said Rhodes, who while delivering food had just brought a donated stars-and-stripes quilt to a military veteran in his 90s.
McGraw said the agency serves about 150,000 meals annually through the program. “Hundreds get delivered every day,” he said. Meals on Wheels clients must be age 60 or older or have a disability.
“Folks worked hard all their lives. They need the help,” McGraw said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Information about Homage Senior Services is at www.homage.org.