While a good time was had by all at Wednesday’s benefit chili luncheon at the Jonesborough Senior Center, it was destined to be last of the annual fundraisers to play out at the center’s current location off Persimmon Ridge Road.
With homemade chili and corn muffins, loaded baked potatoes and hot dogs with all the fixings on the menu, live music by The Country Classics Band and homemade brownies and ice cream sundaes to top it all off, a crowd of at least 100 senior center members and supporters could be counted at any given time during the benefit.
With a new center with three times the space under construction on East Main Street and expected to open before Christmas, next year’s luncheon will likely be even better attended.
Volunteer Susan Barnes, who was working the door on Wednesday, summed it up succinctly. “We need more space,” she said. “We have bingo every Monday night, lots of different exercise classes. There’s a lot to do here.”
Like many in the crowd, Wednesday was the first day Barnes had been able to come to the center since last week’s snowstorm and she was happy to be back among friends. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Sherrie Peters, the center’s assistant program specialist and lead kitchen helper on Wednesday, said the cooking for the event was a two-day affair and involved more than 20 volunteers.
The brownies were baked on Tuesday. The chili went on to simmer Tuesday night. And on Wednesday morning a crew of about 15 showed up to help bake the muffins, brew the tea and coffee and set out the condiments, Peters said.
Marcia Rountree, the center’s program director who has been organizing the chili luncheon for the past three years, said in addition to the crowd who came to eat, the center also sold a large number of take-out orders. All the proceeds go back into the center’s programming.
“It’s something we can offer our members and the community,” Rountree said. “If we make something, that’s an extra bonus. All the money is designated for our special projects fund. We use it to put on more projects like this.”