Life

Chef wanted at the Danube Centre

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Olga Bishop cooks up sausages at the Danube Srs. Leisure Centre, for the August Summer BBQ on Thursday August 17, 2017. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Olga Bishop cooks up sausages at the Danube Srs. Leisure Centre, for the August Summer BBQ on Thursday August 17, 2017. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Wanted: A volunteer who loves to cook, who can co-ordinate a team of helpers, and make sure the monthly Birthday Luncheon at the Danube Seniors Leisure Centre continues to operate.

The Danube Seniors Leisure Centre, operated by the BWG Seniors Association, provides a wide range of activities for its members, from arts and crafts, to woodworking, cards, fitness, bowling, billiards and music. Membership is open to anyone age 55 or older – and Associate Memberships, which include everything but the  right to cast a ballot, to those under 55.

A favourite feature of the Centre, which is located at 715 Simcoe Rd. in Bradford, is the monthly Birthday Lunch, a hot meal available to members for only $8. The lunches, which attract between 90 and 120 people, are not only a social event for the members, but a significant fundraiser for the centre – supporting charities that include the Helping Hand Food Bank, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and high school bursaries.

It's all run by volunteers, which is both a strength, and a weakness. Having volunteer help means that the cost can be kept low – but it also means that there is a scramble, to ensure the position of 'head chef' is filled.

Right now, the Centre is at a crossroads. Director of Food Services and chef at the Danube Centre, Diane El Amin has moved away – and until she can be replaced, the monthly lunches have had to be suspended. There will be no Luncheon in September, but with 400 members, there are hopes that someone will step up to fill the role.

There's a well-equipped kitchen, a template for the lunches, a list of menus and “tried and true recipes” for 100 people, available for anyone who takes on the job, along with a team of volunteers who help shop, prepare, serve and clean up. 

It's a position that “really means cooking, but also organizing, being the strategic person, the go-to person,” explains Jan Evans. The problem right now is, “those with experience are older and it's hard to get the 'junior seniors' involved.”

The older members are willing to help, Evans says; they just don't have the stamina to run the show.

Membership and Associate membership at the Danube Seniors Leisure Centre is only $10 for residents, $15 for non-residents, plus a small fee for other programs – and Evans is hoping that more people will take advantage of the opportunity. It's not a “German Club;” the facility is owned by the Town and run by the BWG Seniors Association – but the name reflects the Danube Counties club, who donated the building to the community back in 1998.

To older residents, Evans says, “You need to come here and meet people, especially if you're new in Town.” Drop in for a tour, learn more about the activities and opportunities, and consider volunteering your time – especially if you love to cook.