South Vancouver residents were saddened last year when Marpole Place, a service known by some as Marpole’s community connection for nearly three decades, quit operations. Both Marpole Place and its operator, the Marpole Oakridge Area Council Society, became inactive, but organizers hoped its programs, including a popular weekly dinner, could be restored if more funds and a new home were found.
Their prayers have been answered, at least for a few months. City hall gave money to hire seniors’ outreach coordinator Jessica Fiddler until April, and new programs have found a home at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church on 8680 Hudson St. at West 71st Avenue.
Last week, several groups met to discuss local seniors’ needs, said Fiddler. The groups included the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre, the Marpole-Oakridge Family Place, the Jewish Seniors Alliance, and St. Augustine’s. They formed a new partnership called the Hudson Street Seniors Hub, which will be creating a website with Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Marpole Place programs had been running at the old firehall on West 70th Avenue since the mid-1980s, but after a major flood there in December 2013, they moved to a temporary residence in St. Augustine’s. (The future of the firehall is still uncertain.) Many praised these social contacts as valuable for isolated seniors, disabled, homeless and others.
The provincial and federal governments have yet to commit funds for Marpole programs. “The trend now is for governments to download these programs onto non-profits and make them compete and run after money,” said community activist Gurdun Langolf. “It’s outrageous. Service agencies cannot do it alone.”
With the resumption in programming, Thursday night dinners are served at 6:30 p.m. for a $6 suggested donation, with Friday morning breakfasts at 9:30 p.m. for $4. St. Augustine’s pastor Andrew Halladay said nobody will be turned away.
Stitch in Time, a sewing group for all ages, is held on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. Walking clubs start on Tuesdays and Fridays, meeting at the corner of 73rd and Hudson at 9 a.m. On Wednesday mornings at St. Augustine’s, an 11 a.m. church service is followed by a social luncheon at 12 p.m. That evening an organic farmer’s market is held from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is set up at St. Augustine’s on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (where users need to bring ID to register), except for cheque week. Rummoli card games are played as a drop-in that day from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Seniors’ exercises and yoga classes are held on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., with a social afterward. This is followed by games for seniors – such as bridge, scrabble and ping pong — from 1 to 3 p.m. except for holidays.
Donations and volunteers are needed, as are ideas for programs. For more information call Jessica at 604-243-5474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.