Successful auction aids Senior Dining program


Bertram Boyum (left), 101-year-old auctioneer, recently led an auction at Semcac Senior Dining in Rushford to raise funds to replace the dining center’s commercial- grade freezer
By: 
Chad Smith

The Semcac Senior Dining program performs a much-needed service for seniors around southeast Minnesota. However, the program recently had its own need as it sought funds to replace its commercial-grade freezer.

Semcac Senior Nutrition program coordinator Carolyn Freese said it had a very successful fundraising auction in late September that provided more money than necessary to accomplish the goal.

“We held a fundraising auction for senior dining, something we’ve done for three years in a row now,” she said. “We had a lot of generous people in the community who donated some great items for the auction. We had a beautiful quilt from May Himlie, we had some beautiful glasswork from her husband, as well as items from a Rushford gentleman who does a lot of carvings.

“We had a big list of beautiful things up for bid,” Freese recalled. “Bertrum Boyum, at 101 years old, handled the auctioneering chores. The town really came together, and people came in with some very generous bids. After all was said and done, we raised close to $4,000 and wound up getting a better freezer than we’d originally planned on.”

The Sunshine Fund put on the auction and sponsored a successful event. It’s a fund that’s run entirely by the seniors who regularly attend Senior Dining. They use the fund to do things such as have music, book a speaker, buy party supplies, and even donate some of the funds to the local food shelf.

 Freese said the new unit is a “good-sized freezer.” Everything has to be commercial grade in a Senior Dining program, so it’s a big freezer with two doors on it. They couldn’t be more appreciative of the community support for Senior Dining.

Senior Dining performs an important service for seniors who are 60-and-over in Rushford and Peterson. It’s not just about the food, either. “There are no income requirements at all,” Freese said. “The only requirement is they’re 60 and older to come to Senior Dining.

“They get a meal, but the more important thing to me is the socialization aspect of it. Seniors get out and involved in the community, they can get some exercise, and have some fun. We also have some programming too. It’s a social thing plus a great meal.”

Freese said the social aspect of Senior Dining is even more important than they first thought. Studies are proving just how positive it is for seniors when it comes to keeping cognitive decline at bay.

“When seniors become more and more withdrawn, the chances for cognitive decline go up rapidly,” she said. “Keeping yourself stimulated and having a reason to get up in the morning and go somewhere is extremely important.”