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Randolph Senior Center closes its doors

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RANDOLPH — The Randolph Senior Center is officially closed — this time for good.

Joedy Sellon, the center’s board president, said the center officially closed last week.

“Our cook quit coming to work and we’re not going to fight it. We’re low on funds,” he said.

The Randolph Senior Center closed for a few weeks this summer as they struggled to find employees. Ginny Willits of Pierce was hired in August and worked as the center’s cook as well as manager.

The number of meals served at the center has drastically decreased, which has led to cash flow problems as well, Sellon said.

“We have five or six people every day eat in and 15 that carry out and you got to pay somebody $3,000 a month to work there. You can’t make it and that’s all there is to it,” he said.

Sellon said a lot of money and effort has been put into the center for its upkeep including a new roof, new entryways, and remodeling bathrooms over the last few years.

There’s been a few inquiries about purchasing the building, however, it’s not on the market yet, Sellon said. The board will discuss next steps at its next meeting.

“We have bills to pay and things to straighten out,” he said.

Sellon said the closure is disheartening after all the time and money he and his wife, Marlene, have personally spent trying to keep it going. He’s served on the senior center’s board for more than 20 years now.

“We don’t have people anymore and it’s not just Randolph,” he said. “We had a big organization going here but there were people that were here that had time and could work.”

The Randolph Senior Center opened in 1984 at its location in downtown Randolph which was the former Randolph Cafe and Steak House. About 300 households and businesses responded with cash or “in kind” donations to make the purchase, along with the Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging supplying about 80 percent of the funding.

The center hosted a grand opening in September 1984.

Regular monthly fundraisers became the norm with pancake, and soup and pie fundraisers becoming staples for many years. Bingo and pickle card licenses were obtained and was an early fundraiser as well.

Other social activities at the center included cards, quilting and visiting over coffee.

The first congregant meal was served to 105 people on Oct. 1.

Much of the work required was provided by volunteers although there were many different paid cooks and managers over the years.