2019 is proving to be a year of celebrations, and joining in the fun is the Galt Senior Club, which celebrated its 50th birthday last Saturday, Aug. 24.

Galt area seniors and other honored guests gathered at the Chabolla Community Center, which had been decorated with linens, flowers and gold balloons sporting the number 50. Round tables were set up with beautiful centerpieces, which included flowers sitting on gold foil topped off with beads.

Emceeing the event was Mark King, son of club member Judy King.

King introduced dignitaries, including local officials and past club presidents.

King gave a brief history on the club.

According to King, the Galt Senior Club was founded in 1969 by Marie Olson. At the time, 30 charter members helped to start the club. The charter was issued and signed by then-governor Ronald Reagan.

In its early days, there were full programs offered, including trips, cruises, potlucks and other festive gatherings. Music and singing were frequently performed by the Centernaries – a group of students from Galt High School.

The club initially met at the Grange Hall. Working solely on donations and a “Buck-a-Board” fundraiser, the club was able to raise funds to finish the kitchen in the admin building in 1971.

King also credited the club for opening a medical clinic in August 1979, which offered members a comprehensive medical examination for $5.

Fast-forward to today, the club’s home is now at the Chabolla Center, which opened in 1990.

The club currently offers a wide variety of services to its members, including meetings, socializing, field trips, movies, potluck lunches and dinners, bingo, cards and other games.

Additionally, the club attends the Meals on Wheels service Monday through Friday, offering seniors a hot noon-time meal. The meals are also delivered to those seniors who are shut-in or otherwise unable to attend lunch at the club.

Over the years, membership reached as high as 200 members at its highest point, but the average roster remains about 75 members at any given time.

The club is committed to giving back and supporting the community. They do this with the proceeds from various fundraisers, including its yearly spaghetti feed and an annual Fall Craft Fair.

In addition to covering its operating expenses, the club uses the funds to award two senior scholarships each year – one at each of the comprehensive high schools. The club also sponsors a men’s softball team, and each Christmas helps Fairsite School with a donation.

After King spoke, past president Sharon Wilbur spoke about the importance of an organization for seniors.

“Our working children are too busy to pick up the phone and call us and tell us they love us, so we sit there in our chairs and watch game shows all day,” Wilbur said. “I firmly believe that’s why we have shut-ins because they feel so lonely. So many, more women than men, have come in here so lonely and they’ve made fabulous friends – for life friends, that help them when they need their bed made or they get their medications mixed up. So please, when you think of seniors, think that we’re here not only for us to love you and give to you, but for you to give back to us.”

Wilbur also spoke at how valuable to the community the Senior Club is.

“We are more than white-haired people playing bingo,” Wilbur said. “We raised money [and] donated to the police department toward the new K-9 dog. That is the first time any club in Galt has said, ‘Let us help you’. We were the first club in Galt to donate to the grandma and grandpa police officers.”

Wilbur also solicited help for the club.

“At our age, we do the best we can to support Galt,” Wilbur said. “In all my heart, I wish that Galt would support us by putting a sign, I don’t care if it comes from an old barn, outside that says Galt Senior Club.”

Wilbur feels that a sign outside the community center would help attract new members to the group.

After the opening ceremony, guests were invited to a catered lunch, while visiting with each other to background music.

The Senior Club in Galt welcomes seniors 55+ to join the club. Member business meetings are the first Monday of every month at 1 p.m. Bingo is held most Mondays starting at 1 p.m., and most Thursdays starting at 12:30 p.m. Fun Days and potlucks are held the second and third Mondays at 12:30 p.m. Game Days are every Friday starting at 12:30 p.m., with many games offered. Various other events are held throughout the year. Contact Pat McCormick at 206-963-1230, Darlene Aguilar at 209-857-0198 or the office at 209-366-7180, and join the fun for only $10 per year (www.ci.galt.ca.us).