Heidi McAlpine takes time out from preparing salads at the Cowichan Lake and District Seniors Centre on April 18

Heidi McAlpine takes time out from preparing salads at the Cowichan Lake and District Seniors Centre on April 18

A warm welcome and pie await you at local seniors’ centre

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but in Lake Cowichan at least, there’s a lunch that’s homemade and served up with plenty of TLC

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but in Lake Cowichan at least, there’s a lunch that’s inexpensive, delicious, homemade and served up with plenty of TLC. For the past eight years, Monday to Friday, Heidi McAlpine has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen of the Cowichan Lake District Seniors Centre.

“It’s all homemade, we cook the roasts and make meatloaf from scratch for our sandwiches,” said McAlpine. “No tinned soups here! All homemade from scratch and we do all kinds. Cream of mushroom, potato and leek, borscht, mulligatawny, you name it.”

Cowichan Lake District Seniors Association manager, Frank Hornbrook is proud of the fare at the centre and points out the low prices.

“$2 for a bowl of soup, $2 for a sandwich, $1 for dessert. You can have a main meal for $5 to $6,” said Hornbrook. “That’s one of the main concepts of this building, to provide low cost meals to seniors. That’s what we strive for.”

Besides feeding the body, the centre also aims to nourish the mind and spirit by providing a friendly place to drop in for a coffee, game of cards or pool, or take part in the many activities on the schedule.

“We have speakers every few months, there’s a craft group, our Thursday music jams, carpet bowling. The socializing aspect is tremendous,” said Hornbrook.

You don’t have to be a member or even a senior to take advantage of what the centre has to offer. Anyone is welcome to drop in for lunch or to participate in the goings-on. For association members and Golden Ager Society members there are additional perks and opportunities like subsidized outings to shows, events and out of town venues.

“To us “senior” starts at age 50 and you’re more than welcome to bring your family,” said Hornbrook. “But you definitely don’t have to be a member to enjoy the centre.”

The centre receives funding from the Town of Lake Cowichan and Area F and I, but the association uses fundraisers like Wednesday night bingo to help with expenses like hydro and building maintenance. Hornbrook is forever scouting for grants as well.

And then there’s pie day! Thursday means the Seniors Good-time Band is in residence playing a variety of music for listening and dancing and on the dessert menu, a piece of homemade pie for $2.

“On pie day sometimes we have anywhere from 50 to 75 people. There used to be a line up!” laughs McAlpine. “Otherwise we have our homemade fruit crumbles, rice or bread puddings, things like that.”

Kitchen coordinator, Mary Lorenz has been a fixture at the centre for 20 years. She and her late husband, Norman were instrumental in helping establish the centre.

“It was my husband’s dream to have this centre and we worked hard,” said Lorenz. “I cooked here for five years as a volunteer with no salary at all.”

These days, Lorenz is busy helping coordinate and plan the menus and still bakes the cinnamon buns, cookies and other goodies.

“We learn from each other,” said McAlpine of her co-worker and friend.

For McAlpine, her long time stint at home on the range at the centre has been a life saver. McAlpine suffers from Lupus, a genetic immune system disorder that results in a variety of symptoms and sometimes slows her down.

“Everyone is so patient with me on my slow days. The pays not the greatest for the hours that I work but I figure I’m the luckiest girl in the world because I’ve got 80 grandmas,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from them all.”

The association has about 300 members and boasts about 1200 day visits per month. Upcoming events include a bazaar on Saturday, April 27th with a silent auction, crafts, white elephant sale as well as home baking, burgers and hotdogs. The centre is open weekdays, excluding statutory holidays from about 8 a.m. till 3 p.m. with lunch available from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Hornbrook invites people to drop in and see what the centre has to offer.

“If you’re out there and not sure, just drop in for a coffee. You may be surprised!”

 

Just Posted

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

Seniors in the Cowichan Valley are being moved into the new Hamlets. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
New Hamlets in Duncan admitting seniors

Residential-care facility has 88 beds

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Vancouver Island man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Most Read