Showing the love for our senior citizens: Hayden Senior Center to host Valentine Luncheon

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Annie Hinojos, left, and Lisa Martinez are ready to serve at the Hayden Senior Center. (Nina Crowder photo)

By Nina Crowder

There are amazing things that go on in the Copper Corridor. One perfect example is a traditional Valentine’s Luncheon at the Town of Hayden Senior Center located at 520 N. Velasco Road in Hayden. This year the Valentine’s Day Celebration will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Tom Chestnut, who’s singing, dancing and interaction with the crowd is delightful.

Annie Hinojos, director of the center, has been working for the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens (PGCSC) since 1982 and thoroughly enjoys her job. Annie grew up in Hayden and remembers people she met when she was two years old, running around with her hair in pigtails. Annie says many of the people she met back then are her clients now.

Taking pride in the work she does, Annie is a very compassionate person who strives to provide the upmost, caring services for the Senior Citizens of the Copper Basin area. Annie is also on the Community Action Board (CAP) for Gila County and on the Board for the Town of Winkelman. One of Annie’s co-workers described Annie as going above and beyond the call of duty. Annie along with her Administrative Assistant, Paula Romero, the area Case Manager, Lisa Martinez and Mr. Gambell, her longest volunteer, work diligently to assure that a good time will be had by all.

Annie is very complimentary of her staff. When she is putting on an event such as the Valentine’s Day Celebration, there are many steps including, the processing of paperwork, purchasing the meal items, meal preparation, decorations of the Senior Center, goodie bags, purchasing items for goodie bags, preparing the goodie bags, arranging transportation for people who need it, arranging the entertainment, just touches the start of the “to-do” list. Annie has minimal help including one volunteer, Gambell. At one time Annie said she had between 70 and 75 volunteers, but now she is down to just one. She would appreciate having other volunteers, but said people are soured because of having to pass a background check and fingerprint clearance, which would be paid for by PGCSC.

This event will be a great way to start off the Valentine’s Holiday. The fantastic staff of PGCSC will be providing a nourishing lunch that will consist of green chili burros, garden salad with tomato wedges, corn medley, pinto beans and orange wedges. There will be raffles, goodies, chocolates, laughs, music and fun for all those in attendance! Give it a try and you don’t have to be a Senior Citizen to attend, the more the merrier!

The PGCSC has six different holiday events every year, consisting of a Halloween Party, Thanksgiving Celebration, Christmas Party (including Santa Claus), Valentine’s Day, Easter Party and Mothers/Fathers Day Celebration. If you are interested or have any questions, you may contact the Senior Center at 520-356-7035.

You may be wondering what is the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens (PGCSC)? In 1965 Congress passed the Older American Act (OAA) to address the lack of community social services for older persons. OAA provides funding and authorizes an array of services from nutrition, home care, Respite, home delivered meals, mobility management, behavioral health, legal services and recently added is the tax aide. If you would like more information or have questions here is some helpful contact information: email: or You can reach PGCSC at 1-800-293-9393.

Not only do they hold the six different holiday events during the year, but on a daily basis the Senior Center is open for lunch, the meal menu is put together by a state dietician, meals are prepped, cooked and presented. Food is delivered to homes on a weekly basis to approximately 115 homebound clients. The clients are given a hot meal on the day of delivery and four frozen meals. There are exceptions available if additional meals are needed. The meals are well rounded and healthy. The meals are delivered by Annie and her staff. The service area they are responsible for is Eagle Crest, SaddleBrooke, Oracle Junction, Oracle, San Manuel, Redington, Mammoth, Dudleyville, Winkelman, Hayden, Kearny-Silver Springs, Superior and Dripping Springs.

Lisa Martinez is the Case Manager for the Pinal-Gila Council. For five years now she has been the person who evaluates the home situations and works closely with Annie to process the appropriate paperwork for the help that will be provided to the client. Client criteria consists of the clients to be at least 60 years of age and functionally impaired or disabled individuals 18 to 59 years of age who have a diagnosed disability that substantially limits an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living. Once a client makes a call asking about the services available, Lisa will go out and assess the needs and make her suggestions. Meals can be provided as quickly as seven days once the paperwork is processed. The initial assessment takes about two hours; then a yearly assessment will occur along with reviews every three months. The personal care, attendant care, home meals, minor home repair, caregiver support, routine housekeeping, transportation, legal and tax help are just a few of the services available.

The purpose of the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens (PGCSC) is to assist people achieve and maintain self sufficiency with dignity and to offer choices of appropriate care by providing a wide range of community and home services. In my opinion this organization is a wealth of information and here to help!

If you would like to donate any items for the goodie bags, you can take them to Annie at the Hayden Senior Center. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact PGCSC at 1-800-293-9393 or check with Annie at the Senior Center.

Hayden Senior Center.jpg

The Hayden Senior Center is not quite ready for a Valentine party, but by Friday, all the decorations and preparations will be complete. (Nina Crowder photo)

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