The Golden Age Society needs help

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The Golden Age Society loves its independence, but now has to apply for financial assistance due to COVID-19 restrictions, society president Diane McPhee said.

By chuck tobin to March 4, 2022

The Golden Age Society loves its independence, but now has to apply for financial assistance due to COVID-19 restrictions, society president Diane McPhee said.

“We have money in the bank, but we saw a real drop in the last year, and that can only last for a while,” she said in an interview this week.

With restrictions, the company has been unable to offer its regular programming to seniors, McPhee said, particularly the fortnightly lunches they previously relied on as their primary source of income.

Lunches, she says, have been rare for a long time now.

They were given the green light for a Monday lunch, McPhee said.

She said the company sent letters to the business community last week explaining the situation and asking for financial donations.

“We would be hopeful that some of the local businesses contacted us because of what we do for seniors,” McPhee said. “But we basically understand that everyone is in the same boat.”

The company receives no government funding, other than occasional grants for building improvements, she said.

McPhee said the company was approved earlier this year for a $10,000 grant from the city to cover operating expenses, but has yet to receive the money.

If the company could resume normal operations, it would be self-sufficient again, she said.

“We could do with a little help right now,” McPhee said. “We have always done our business by taking care of ourselves.”

She said they were slowly moving things forward as the government began to ease restrictions.

She said the Golden Age Society has 250 members aged 55 and over.

The company has its own space at the north end of the Sport Yukon Building on Fourth Avenue.

“We have a pretty big facility and we have a lot of activities for seniors for socializing and recreation,” McPhee said. “A lot of our seniors live alone, and they depend on it to get out there and do things.”

The building includes normal costs, such as electricity and propane, and their monthly condo fees just went from $700 to $1,000, she said.

The president of the society listed some of the activities offered by the group: Tai chi, line dancing, bingo (very popular), crèche, whist, bridge, yoga…

She said they also rent out their facility to other groups or someone who wants to throw a birthday party.

“But it’s been quite reduced due to the restrictions.”

The letter to local businesses says: “The Golden Age Society is self-funded and depends on memberships, facility rentals, luncheons and other organized activities to operate.

“The mandatory closures have eliminated most of this revenue. To operate, the company needs about $5,000 per month. When all the restrictions are lifted, there will still be a financial problem for the coming year.

“Our priority is to provide a safe place where all seniors can gather in a social environment. We are concerned that many older people endure loneliness and isolation.

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