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Tue, April 23

PV mayor keeps marching on for the Senior Center
Annual event benefits the Meals on Wheels program

Prescott Valley resident Ted Everett mixes the pancake batter for breakfast after the Mayor's March for Meals event at the CASA Senior Center on Saturday, March 19. (Ken Sain/Tribune)

Prescott Valley resident Ted Everett mixes the pancake batter for breakfast after the Mayor's March for Meals event at the CASA Senior Center on Saturday, March 19. (Ken Sain/Tribune)

Every March for more than a decade Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog plays host to a benefit march to raise funds for CASA Senior Center's Meals on Wheels program, including Saturday's even that drew about two dozens walkers.

But CASA Executive Director Betty Robinson said that's not the biggest role the mayor plays in its history.

"He helped us out, it looked like we were going to lose this organization," Robinson said. "He helped us save it."

"That may be true, but I think they saved it," Skoog said.

It was before CASA Senior Center moved to its new location in 2009, Robinson said. Skoog said that the town was considering running the senior center itself, instead of contracting out to a nonprofit group, such as CASA.

"What happened is we had a town manager who wanted to close it down and make it a town operation ..., and our decision was it's better if it's a volunteer [group]. The town contributes some to the operation, but Betty does most of it."

The town contributes $40,000 a year to CASA's budget to serve seniors in Prescott Valley. They also will help if there are any significant building maintenance issues, Skoog said.

Robinson said that the mayor's help has been invaluable because his March for Meals event each spring kicks off their fundraising for the year. After the short walk around the park at the senior center, marchers and others are welcomed inside for a pancake breakfast.

"It's just a fun thing to bring awareness to the plight of our seniors who are in need, and help us, because we are self-funded, to come up with the funds we need to provide meals to our homebound seniors and to our in-house seniors," Robinson said.

Robinson said they make close to 150 meals a day for seniors in the area. All the funds raised on Saturday were matched by an anonymous donor, Robinson said.

One of the benefits of allowing a private group to run the senior center instead of the town, is that it forces them to get out and build relationships in the community as they raise funds, said the group's administrative director, Mary Wise.

"The Prescott Valley Police Department has been so good to us, they gave us two checks today, one from the officers and the other from the department," Wise said.

Wise and Robinson said they expect even more seniors will be eating their food soon, as word spreads.

"Since we got our new cook ..." Wise said. "She's wonderful," Wise and Robinson said in unison.

"I mean her reputation is getting out there, and it's really building, people are coming more and more and more."

Tina Tang is the new cook who took over the kitchen in January, Robinson said.

Robinson said they are always in need of volunteers to help deliver food to seniors who can't leave their homes.

Follow Ken Sain on Twitter at @ksainjr. Reach him at 928-445-3333, Ext. 2021, or 928-420-5341 or email him at ksain@prescottaz.com.

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