McKissick Senior Center opens


Linda Holliday leads an exercise class for arthritis sufferers July 6 at the newly opened McKissick Senior Center in Liberty, operated by Meals on Wheels as part of its expanded offerings for seniors in Pickens County.

LIBERTY — Meals on Wheels’ McKissick Center for Senior Wellness opened its doors Monday for local seniors with an eye on providing a more full service center for Pickens County’s elder generation.

As part of its expanded center, the McKissick Center will serve as a meeting place for seniors, complete with exercises and interaction, to go along with the new kitchen the institution will be using to help serve delivered meals to those in need.

“The idea came about in 2010 when the school district began its building program and we knew there were going to be sites available,” Meals on Wheels director Meta Bowers said. “At the time we weren’t sure how we would be able to make it happen. Almost all of the Meals on Wheels centers across the country have their own kitchens and we wanted to expand on that.”

Through a loan from Pickens County Council, Meals on Wheels obtained the funding needed to put the center into action, giving the organization the opportunity to expand beyond just home meal deliveries by much needed volunteers. Now seniors from Pickens County have access to yoga classes, art, music, quilting, and exercise geared for those with arthritis. Other programs will come online as time passes and the center grows.

Travel to and from McKissick Center is made possible by the Appalachian Council of Governments for those with transportation issues.

“This was the perfect opportunity to have the kitchen we needed so badly to serve the county, beyond home delivery which has been our number one priority to this point,” Bowers said. “When we learned Seniors Unlimited was going out of business we saw there was a need for expanding what we do and make some important social and health opportunities for those we serve.”

While the inception of the idea of the McKissick Senior Center was originally a smaller vision, a centrally located kitchen to serve the county, the expansion of Meals on Wheels’ efforts will provide further benefit than had been expected nearly five years ago.

“With our kitchen now in Liberty, we essentially doubled the size of the population we serve here,” Bowers said. “Marsha Robertson came on as Program Director, adding so much to what we now offer with more on the way, and now what was supposed to be just a kitchen is a chance for our seniors to continue having a good quality of life and a chance to make new friends.”

All that is missing, according to Bowers, is a functional pool table.

While the doors have opened, a grand opening is scheduled for July 23-25 with a ribbon cutting July 24 at 10 a.m. The McKissick Senior Center is located at 349 Edgemont Ave. in Liberty and can be reached by phone at 864-855-3770.

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