Elizabeth What-Hall, at Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett, hands a sack lunch to Duane Conklin on Tuesday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Elizabeth What-Hall, at Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett, hands a sack lunch to Duane Conklin on Tuesday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Lunches available despite ‘terrible’ senior center closure

Homage Senior Services continues to provide weekday meals at Carl Gipson Senior Center and other sites.

Mike Lanphere sits outside Everett’s Carl Gipson Senior Center eating his lunch. The center is closed due to city budget cuts, but midday meals are still provided there by Homage Senior Services.

And people keep coming, now for sack lunches until the center’s water heater can be fixed to allow for hot meals to go. Although Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus directive is called “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” more lunches than usual are being served from the center that’s been closed since March 6.

“The city has graciously allowed us to serve meals at the site,” said Leah Hammon, senior nutrition manager with Homage. Formerly Senior Services of Snohomish County, the Lynnwood-based nonprofit also operates Meals on Wheels, Dial-A-Ride, social services and home repair programs.

In April, about 40 to 50 lunches were served most weekdays at the Everett senior center, Hammon said. In all, she said, 917 meals were provided there last month. Even with some of Homage’s nearly a dozen meal sites around the county closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, she said, the agency served 5,700 meals last month.

“We served more meals in April than any month to date,” Hammon said Tuesday. “We’re seeing some of the same clients, but also people we haven’t seen before.”

Those numbers show the need is great. With the Carl Gipson Senior Center shuttered, there’s hunger, too, for social connection.

Mostly one by one, many in masks, people come from 11 a.m. to noon weekdays to the Everett senior center’s door at 3025 Lombard Ave. Lunches are brought out by Homage staff or senior center volunteers.

“Even just seeing the volunteers helps, having that small face-to-face interaction,” Hammon said.

Outside each day, the 68-year-old Lanphere not only eats lunch, as a longtime senior center volunteer he hands out books and puzzles to those in need of stay-home diversions. The items come from the closed center’s collection. Clients don’t grab books off outdoor shelves. Instead, once they choose, Lanphere wears protective gloves to give out a book, puzzle or game.

On Friday, he had just finished his sack lunch — a sandwich, potato salad, an orange, Sun Chips and a cookie.

Hammon said hot meals will return to the center once the water heater is repaired. A past monthly menu of hot-meal choices includes fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, taco salad, spaghetti, lasagna, chili-topped baked potatoes and other hearty dishes.

Volunteer Mike Lanphere hands out lunches from 11 a.m. to noon weekdays at the Carl Gipson Senior Center, although city of Everett budget cuts have closed the center. Homage Senior Services is providing the lunches. (Julie Muhlstein / The Herald)

Volunteer Mike Lanphere hands out lunches from 11 a.m. to noon weekdays at the Carl Gipson Senior Center, although city of Everett budget cuts have closed the center. Homage Senior Services is providing the lunches. (Julie Muhlstein / The Herald)

Lanphere, who has volunteered at the center about 10 years, called the closure “terrible.”

In 2016, he was featured in a Herald article when the Carl Gipson Senior Center reopened after a two-month closure due to a restroom remodel. At the time, he was thrilled to be back in the billiards room there, playing eight-ball with a friend.

“It’s the only thing I have to do,” Lanphere said about his current volunteer gig.

“Homage Senior Services has been a great partner,” said Julio Cortes, a spokesman for the city of Everett, adding that the agency is continuing to provide lunches. “It is our hope that this service remains as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and explore our budget options,” Cortes said by email Tuesday.

Three full-time workers at the senior center were laid off April 26, he said.

These days, callers to the Carl Gipson Senior Center hear a poignant phone message: “Due to the social distancing limitations and budget issues caused by COVID-19, it has been determined that the senior center will close indefinitely,” says the message, which offers information about lunches and membership refunds.

It ends with hope: “We have loved serving you over the last 40 years and we have high hopes to have the opportunity to do so again in the future.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Meals at senior center

Lunches provided by Homage Senior Services are available for pick-up 11 a.m.-noon weekdays at the Carl Gipson Senior Center, 3025 Lombard Ave., Everett. Clients are asked to call 425-257-7088 by 2 p.m. the day before a lunch is needed.

Homage Senior Services also offers to-go meals at other sites in Snohomish County: homage.org/nutrition/dining-sites.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Inmates held a demonstration on Wednesday night after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Another outbreak sends 60 to isolation at Monroe prison unit

One worker and one prisoner tested positive Monday. Then more cases were found throughout the Twin Rivers Unit.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 dead, 1 injured in T-bone crash in Everett

The two people who died are believed to be in their 80s. Police don’t suspect alcohol, drugs or speed played a role.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

1 dead, 3 injured in 5-car crash east of Stanwood

Katrina Kakalecik, 27, of Granite Falls, was a passenger in an SUV that was rear-ended on Thanksgiving.

A woman walks a dog in downtown Snohomish on Oct. 22. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish adopts sales tax for mental health, affordable housing

The city’s new 0.1% tax is also under consideration elsewhere in Snohomish County.

Kyle Wheeler listens as he is convicted of second-degree manslaughter in Snpohomish County Superior Court on Thursday August 12, 2021 in Everett, Wash. ( Ellen Dennis /The Herald)
When killer skipped prison date, family’s mourning turned to fear

A judge sentenced Kyle Wheeler for killing an Everett man, Charles Hatem, then freed him on a promise to report to prison.

Michael Ciaravino
Ex-Mill Creek manager gets $92K severance after rocky tenure

Deputy City Manager Martin Yamamoto has temporarily taken over after Michael Ciaravino’s resignation.

Shawneri Guzman, center, who was named Washington's Fire Educator of the Year and her team of Community Resource firefighter paramedics Janette Anderson, left, and Captain Nicole Picknell, right, at the Lynnwood Fire Station on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A pandemic playbook, used nationally, was made in Snohomish County

South County Fire helped transport “patient zero.” Their COVID manual has helped departments far and wide.

Charges: Everett ID thief tried to buy wheels, speakers, more

The man, 33, was charged this week with 10 counts of identity theft in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Most Read