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Senior services expand in Adams County with relocation of The Senior Hub to Thornton

Bob Grogan, 85, was sitting in a chair on the front porch of his home in south Adams County watching the cars drive by when Mary McGinnis pulled up in her big red Cadillac. As usual, he got out of his chair and walked down to the curb to meet her.

“It’s good to see you again, Bob. How are you doing?” asked McGinnis, a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program in Adams County.

The two chatted, and McGinnis handed Grogan a large paper bag, his salmon, asparagus and potatoes wrapped neatly inside, hot and ready to eat.

Grogan has received Meals on Wheels deliveries to his home five days a week for two years. Regular deliveries began shortly after a hospital stay.

“It’s a great thing that they do,” Grogan said. “It keeps me healthy and gives me nutrients, and I’m happy to see the folks who drop it off.”

The Volunteers of America’s national Meals on Wheels program is offered to nearly 200 residents age 60 and older across Adams County through The Senior Hub, a nonprofit direct service provider for aging adults that opened in Federal Heights in 1986.

After more than 30 years, The Senior Hub is expanding its reach deeper into the community. On July 5, the organization moved its administrative headquarters and the Meals on Wheels program from Federal Heights to a new space in Thornton at 9025 Grant St.

“My vision for The Senior Hub is to be literally the one place in Adams County where seniors go for anything that they need,” said Jennifer Pepper, who has been the Hub’s executive director since October 2015. “We absolutely have the capacity and capability to do that, just in terms of the programming that we have and offer.”

In addition to the Meals on Wheels program The Senior Hub offers home-care services, a retired senior volunteer program and an adult day center.

“I get probably five calls a day from people wanting to join the program,” said Jessica Gonzalez, Meals on Wheels program director for The Senior Hub. “Our service numbers have actually gone up about 32 percent just since I started in January. Back then, we were at 130 and now it’s closer to 170. But our goal is to be at 200 clients by the end of December.”

To serve the demand, Gonzalez has added a weekly route that delivers frozen meals to residents who are on the waiting list for hot meals delivered Monday through Friday. She says two more weekly routes may added this year to meet growing demand.

“We’ve noticed a lot of growth in our senior population in Thornton and Northglenn, in particular,” she said. And the new location gives her volunteers room to work without tripping over one another, even as the volume of work increases.

New routes and clients aren’t the only way The Senior Hub is growing. The old space at 2360 W. 90th Ave. in Federal Heights is being renovated to become an adult day center.

“Right now, our adult day center is located in Northglenn and it’s in an office building,” Pepper said. “It’s on the first floor and it’s great, but it could be better. Our Federal Heights building has a lot of open space. We’re going to have a separate space for activities, a quiet room and even a community garden that we’re raising money to build now.”

The current day center serves about 20-25 people. The new center will have room to serve a larger group the day it opens (to be announced).

“Once that opens, I really feel that the sky is the limit in terms of expanding programs,” Pepper said. “I don’t see limitations for this organization anymore.”

The organization’s biggest obstacle to becoming a pre-eminent senior services organization is transportation.

Carol Norberg, who leads Thornton’s Active Adult Advisory Committee, said Thornton and surrounding Adams County cities are in dire need of a door-to-door senior transportation service.

“Our goal is to make sure that there are affordable housing options for our seniors, and that transportation is easily accessible,” Norberg said. “Sometimes the wait for (limited transportation services) is very difficult. We’ll be really happy when mass transit arrives here. But then, of course, we’ll need adequate transportation to the stations so people can use it.”

Pepper said The Senior Hub is exploring grants to create its own transportation service.

“There are so many things that we can offer that I think other senior centers and service organizations already can’t do,” Pepper said. “Once these things are figured out, there’s no stopping us.”

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