Bonnie Wekel, president of the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre, is one of the two volunteers who serves up lunch at noon. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Kitchen at risk of closing without volunteers at the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre

President of the charity, Bonnie Wekel, is working in the kitchen while they search for people

In January, Bonnie Wekel figured she was young enough to take on being the president of the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre, but with dwindling volunteers she’s trying to avoid “burn out.”

With daily activities, Bingo, chair yoga, embroidery, homemade lunches and a monthly pancake breakfast, there’s a lot for seniors to do at 21 Grenville Court, just off Fraser Street.

“We only need volunteers for a couple hours each day,” Wekel said, in her red and white checkered apron, before rushing off to help out in the kitchen.

Meals are served Monday to Friday and the centre needs a cook and a dishwasher to step in between 10-1 p.m.

READ MORE: Thrift store switches charity focus from cats to seniors

There’s only one paid part-time employee, Vikki Fraser, who is the program manager for the centre.

“We run on volunteers and fundraisers,” Fraser said. “A month ago we got a scare that we’d have to shut the kitchen down.”

Due to some internal changes, she said there has been a decrease in kitchen volunteers.

Fraser is also leaving at the end of the month, and the centre is in need of a new program manager.

The registered charity opened in 1984, and the city exempts the centre from paying property taxes. Fundraisers, such as Bingo twice a week, helps pay for additional costs. But it’s volunteers that the centre needs these days.

Mary Schrubsall said she likes to come to the Seniors’ Centre for the company and the people. She comes every Wednesday and Friday for Bingo.

“I’ve been playing Bingo for years to support the cause,” Schrubsall said.

Although the membership list exceeds 300 people, Wekel reckons only about 60 members walk through the doors each week. They try to keep their membership coming back with events such as the Spring Tea and Bazaar on Saturday, April 27, and pancake breakfast on May 4.

To learn more about volunteering at the Seniors’ Centre, specifically the kitchen, call 250-627-1900 or email prmember@citywest.ca

READ MORE: Heart of our city: Sharron Paulson finding retirement a joy


Shannon Lough | Editor
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Bonnie Wekel, president of the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre, next to avid Bingo player, Mary Schrubsall. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

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