City of Portage Community Spotlight: Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Senior Services

City of Portage Community Spotlight: Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Senior Services

Each Sunday we will feature a project going on within the city, happenings within a department or someone who works hard to provide services to the community. This week we take a look at the work of the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Senior Services.

The Mayor's Advisory Committee on Senior Services has been working hard for nearly two decades to provide services to Portage's senior community.

Formed during the administration of former Mayor Doug Olson, the committee continues to provide opportunities for seniors.

"The goal is to enrich their lives, provide them with a better quality of life in the city by providing opportunities for them to get out of their homes and socialize," said Mayor Sue Lynch, who has chaired the committee for some 13 years as a Portage City Council member and now as mayor.

The past year has been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the committee, composed of representatives of businesses and agencies who provide services to seniors, has continued to meet virtually to brainstorm ideas to continue those services during the pandemic.

On Feb. 12 volunteer members of the committee handed out Valentine's Day cards and cookies to members of the Bonner Senior Center as they picked up their curbside lunches at the center. Local florist Flower Power also provided carnations to distribute to the seniors.

In the past, the committee has sponsored events such as Breakfast and a Movie, the Senior Art Fair, Senior Health Fair, Honored Senior Event.

The committee has also sponsored educational events such as the Brown Bag Program which allowed seniors to bring in their medications and have them reviewed by volunteer pharmacists.

Movies, said Lynch, were chosen to inspire seniors that age makes no difference.

The committee is working on plans to host a Breakfast and a Movie event sometime this Spring.

While the annual health fair, which gathers nearly 400 seniors each year, wasn't held last year due to the pandemic, the committee hopes to host a health fair this coming Fall. The health fair featured dozens of vendors which provided information to seniors on a variety of topics from medical needs to home safety to financial advice. Lunch was also provided to seniors.

Dozens of seniors also participate in the annual Senior Art Fair in September by displaying their works of art at the Portage Public Library. The art fair was held this past September and, despite the pandemic, seniors displayed their paintings and other works of art at the library for patrons to view. However, the annual artists' reception had to be canceled due to COVID-19.

All activities and events held by the committee are funded through donations and sponsorships from the community.