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Area Seniors Dance, Eat, Win Big At Friday Fair
Janet Spooner was among one of the first winners of the myriad of raffle prizes offered at Friday’s Senior Information Fair. Here, she proudly displays her newly-won platter. Autumn Neal/The Leader

Another one for the books: the 2019 Senior Information Day hosted for Oakdale area senior citizens was bustling with activity, as usual. One step into the Bianchi Center on Friday, June 7, and there were raffles to be won, songs to be danced to, food to be eaten, and vendors to talk to, picking up plenty of information and giveaway goodies.

The vendors that took part with information and programs to share also had a few other offerings. The Oak Valley Hospital District was on hand with booths for physical therapy, rehabilitation, and resources. The ever-popular dance therapy returned to get seniors moving, whether they stood up or danced in their seats.

Rosie Gomar, a community outreach leader, with the help of a local grant, is striving to promote mental health. She, along with a few other volunteers, danced to some classic songs in order to get seniors moving. Mental Health Awareness Month has just passed in May, but these community servants are active in breaking stigma and helping seniors keep their minds and bodies healthy.

Other organizations turning out on Friday to help were the Native Daughters of the Golden West. They’ve been helping out with the event for seven years, and while they usually preserve history like lighthouses and missions, the women there volunteered to help pack lunches and work in the kitchen to feed everyone in attendance.

“We’re just here to help the community,” President Leslie Pettinger explained.

They packed lunches full of a ham sandwich, chips, macaroni salad, cookies, and drinks. Not only did the seniors grab a lunch, but also volunteers, and Jane Finkenbine, Recreation Coordinator, personally delivered meals to seniors who couldn’t attend.

Young at Heart, part of the Healthy Aging Association, was also present and has some local ties. They offer a class at the East A Street Senior Center and aimed to extend their helping hand. Their classes currently meet in Oakdale three days a week, with exercises that can be done seated or standing and they “accommodate most levels of function.” The fall prevention program is local and does classes in surrounding areas, too, like Modesto and Turlock and currently works with over 1,300 seniors on programs aimed at improving strength, balance, and flexibility.

All vendors had plenty of free items to give away like bags, chapstick, pens, and even health screenings by Oak Valley Hospital.

The close of the program featured local senior advocate Mickey Peabody calling out raffle winners, with prizes like flowers, dish sets, chairs, and more presented. Each of the prizes was a $30 value and donated by surrounding programs and organizations such as Astoria, Precision Home Care, and Native Daughters.

The Senior Information Day accommodated 160 seniors, according to Finkenbine.

“I appreciate the partnership between Oak Valley Hospital District and the City of Oakdale,” Finkenbine shared. “It was a successful event and I look forward to next year.”