Federal Way Senior Center Programs
The Center’s seniors have many opportunities to participate in service projects that benefit not only themselves and the Center, but reach out to the greater South King County community.
The Roots and Wings Program is an intergenerational outreach program that provides a supportive environment for at-risk elementary-age kids to establish nurturing relationships with Center seniors. While the program provides children with the unique opportunity to connect with a senior mentor and participate in learning activities, it provides just as much benefit for the participating Center seniors who experience a greater sense of purpose and enjoyment.
The Community Garden focuses our senior’s efforts on the cultivation of 10,000 square-foot garden devoted to feeding the hungry. In season, the Garden yields over 200 pounds of produce weekly. The harvests are distributed to the Center’s Hot Meals program, local food banks and to the homes of low-income seniors.
The Community Pantry (food bank) makes available nutritious groceries to seniors, and needy individuals and families in the South King County area. Each month, the food bank serves more than 400 hungry people. The Pantry operates thanks to the work of about 30 Center volunteers who work as drivers, inventory processors, and counter aides. Center seniors who volunteer for the Pantry report that this experience is meaningful, satisfying, and enriches their lives.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Increasingly, today’s seniors seek to improve their computer and business skills. To meet this need, many of our seniors have been participating in computer skills training classes offered on site by our Boeing retirees. Seizing the opportunity to building on these new skills, the Center now offers hands-on experience operating an online business. Our senior-operated online bookstore – Mother Hubbard’s Book Cupboard – currently offers nearly 6,000 titles.
All proceeds from the sale of books go to the Center. With such low operating costs, Mother Hubbard’s has rapidly become the third highest non-grant-based revenue producer for the Center, directly benefitting the organization in challenging economic times.
Equally important, a professional bookseller oversees our volunteers regarding all aspects of operating this type of business. Seniors are developing highly transferable skills that will benefit them in future endeavors.
This project is an example of success, yet it also illustrates a current need. Our seniors are motivated, imaginative and ready to serve, but often lack the specific skills necessary to make a project succeed. In order to get the bookstore up and running, a professional agreed to come alongside our seniors to back them in their efforts. Such assistance, either in the form of direct support of program overhead or of funding to obtain targeted consultative help, can be very powerful in other areas as well, such as gardening and culinary expertise, and the planning and execution of fundraising events.