Like many seniors, Cecelia, 70, can’t make ends meet on her Social Security check. So once a month, she visits Silver Key Senior Services where she receives basic groceries.

She doesn’t drive, and transportation to the food pantry means changing buses four times.

“There’s no way I could get the food home on my own,” she says. “But they are wonderful and even give me a ride. I pay $3.50.”

She grew up on a farm, where as early as age eight she helped in the fields. She attended some college, married, had a daughter, divorced and worked any job she could get whether stocking shelves or making beds.

Cecilia, fiercely independent, says this food donation keeps her off government food assistance.

Cecelia gets meat, produce, cheese, cereal, beans and other items monthly. Her favorites are peanut butter and the canned cherries and pumpkin. “I love pie. It is my special treat during the month.” She doesn’t ever buy butter, so she gets a packaged grocery store pie crust for $2.75, she says. She makes the pies, cuts them into pieces and freezes them so she can have some now and then.

“You have to be resourceful. I don’t throw a crust away,” she says. Sometimes she makes two potato casseroles and shares with a needy neighbor.

“I make do and can survive well thanks to Silver Key,” she said. “They really help me stretch.”

There’s a misconception that Silver Key is only for indigent clients, notes Lorri Orwig, chief development officer.

Silver Key’s mission is to help seniors 60 and over to remain safe and independent in their own homes. Last year, more than 7,000 individuals age 60 and up were helped.

Silver Key’s best-known program is transportation for those needing rides to work, doctor visits, grocery stores, church or jobs. Rides to educational and social events are included, Orwig said, because it helps keep seniors active and independent.

The agency also provides crisis care case management for such issues as elder abuse and behavioral health.

Silver Key provides 900 freshly made meals a day through several programs. Volunteers, through Meals On Wheels, deliver hot meals daily to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own. Golden Circle Nutrition offers lunch at 19 sites. There is also a food pantry that serves 1,000 people a month, and a thrift store at its headquarters that features traditional items as well as durable health equipment such as canes and wheelchairs. They are also a referral center for those needing financial help with utilities, dental, medical services and housing.

With baby boomers aging, many more people are needing direct help and referrals. To address the Pikes Peak area’s growing elderly population Silver Key last year moved to larger quarters at 1605 South Murray Blvd. Silver Key receives 2,000 calls a month.

The agency has even become court-appointed legal guardians for 30 seniors who don’t have the ability to be their own advocates and who have no other help. “We are their family,” Orwig said

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