The Gathering Place in Cairo, Nebraska.
We have all seen special stories of community service and dedication to mankind throughout the pandemic. One shining example of thes qualities has occurred in the community of Cairo.
The Gathering Place in Cairo, once known as the Cairo Senior Citizens’ Center, serves the community’s population of age 60 and above. For more than ten years, The Gathering Place has provided hot meals Monday through Friday. The facility has been a place to gather for meals, activities, and to access life-enhancing services.
When the pandemic took hold in 2020, The Gathering Place adapted their procedures to shift from on-site dining to home-delivered meals. Mandy Sweitzer, Site Council Member noted that the pandemic shed light on the need for hot, healthy meals for folks in the community, as well as other personal needs. “When the pandemic caused closures and isolation, it became obvious that people not only needed help with acquiring meals, but they also needed the opportunity to say “hello” to their friends and neighbors.” The need for meals and friendly faces shows in the number of people that are served daily. Prior to the pandemic, The Gathering Place kitchen was utilized to serve 12-15 meals each day. More recently, that number has grown to 35-40 meals daily, more than double their previous level.
The Gathering Place recently submitted an application for an Operation ROUND UP grant, which is made possible by participating customers of Southern Public Power District. Their application was successful, and a $2,500 grant was awarded for expansion to their kitchen, which will include additional space and larger refrigeration and freezer units. The Gathering Place also actively sought assistance from local foundations and fundraising efforts such as Go Big Give.
LeAnne Doose, Public Relations Manager notes, “This project is one that truly exemplifies service at its best. Clearly a significant need has been discovered by The Gathering Place, and they have risen to the occasion to serve members of their community.” Sweitzer noted that the Site Director Tracy Bowers has done an incredible job overseeing the efforts to shift to home deliveries, and local volunteers Marv Roth, Carla Blake and Dee Reinhart have been dedicated figures in delivering meals to people, even in extreme cold temperatures.
We applaud the efforts made by The Gathering Place, its volunteers, and the entire community for having a vision to meet individual needs. Your example of community service and teamwork are worthy of acknowledgment.
The recipients for grants during the First Quarter of 2021 are listed on the next page. We thank SPPD customers for making grants like this possible!