Bingo at senior citizen meal site and meal program update

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Bingo is played each Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Guttenberg Municipal Building dining area. (Press Photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker 

Research has suggested that bingo is a fun way to stave off loneliness and boredom. Through the years, bingo locations have become the hub of local communities, allowing individuals to gather and socialize with like-minded people.  

Guttenberg's dedicated senior meal site volunteers, Vi Zittergruen, Joyce Kopecky, Carol Tomkins and Helen Duwe, filled a void felt by local seniors when their daily socialization and hot nutritious meals they enjoyed was eliminated due the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Senior meal site update

"Currently, Northeast Iowa Agency on Aging (NEI3A) provides frozen meals prepared and packaged in Waterloo to individuals signed up for the program," explained Kopecky. "NEI3A is currently looking for a cook in Guttenberg so we can begin serving hot meals again. It has been a challenge as there are many government regulations that need to be met." 

Seniors who faithfully attended the program were tired of sitting home alone. "Socialization is very important for the elderly, and we missed our job as volunteers also," noted Zittergruen. 

The volunteers made plans to safely gather their senior friends following the vaccine\nation rollout. "Anyone gathering has been fully vaccinated including a booster shot," said  Tomkins. 

Bingo games

Bingo is played each Wednesday from 10 - 11 a.m. in the Guttenberg Municipal Building in the lower level dining room. Coffee and freshly baked cookies are served along with lively conversations. "We each take turns baking, but Helen bakes more than the rest of us," laughed Zittergruen. 

"Bingo players begin gathering around 9:30 for socialization," said Duwe. "They enjoy the cookies and coffee and catching up on the news." 

Players chip in 25-cents per game and the winner wins the kitty. "We play a variety of games — X's, Y's, four corners, regular bingo and black-out," noted Duwe. 

Bingo players expressed gratitude for volunteer efforts and the opportunity to socialize. "We like anything that gets us out of the house," said Verda Mae Faust with a big smile. 

"I think it great! It gives us a chance to get out of the house and visit," commented Doris Bolsinger. "I used to attend bingo in McGregor at the church, but they  had to cancel because they couldn't get enough callers. They always had a good turn-out. Me and my sisters enjoyed the outing, and went whenever we could." 

"I enjoy the cookies and the coffee! They are delicious," said Delos "Pockey" Wessman. 

The volunteers are hopeful the meal site will begin again, but until that time they are pleased with their efforts and happy to be safely gathered again. 

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