SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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October 21, 2013

Seniors Club succumbs to changing times

(Continued)

“As sad as it is to say it’s the end of an era, it’s also the beginning of a new era where the Senior Center is open to everyone, and there isn’t a private group meeting here anymore.”

At the same time, Holak praised the Senior Citizens Club members for maintaining a long-standing tradition.

“Members of that club are just awesome,” she said. “Kudos to them for keeping it going, for really putting energy into remembering its roots.”

In some ways, the Senior Citizens Club’s demise mirrored the end of the Friends of the Council on Aging, another private group that formed to help with the opening of the Senior Center. The Friends raised money to support Senior Center operations in the early years and even had a hand in the hiring and firing of the executive director.

But as the city began more fully funding the Senior Center’s annual budget — it’s now about $560,000 — the need for a private fundraising group diminished. The Friends disbanded four years ago.

The Friends transferred the license to run bingo games to the Senior Citizens Club, but dwindling attendance led to the end of bingo in January.

Coughlin said the Senior Citizens Club has about $27,000 left in its treasury and hopes the money can be used to continue funding scholarships for Beverly High School seniors, as the club has done for years.

“We had a wonderful run,” Coughlin said.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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