On Aug. 31, 2005, the state-of-the-art, 16,652-square-foot Fountain Valley Senior Center opened to a red carpet reception.
It was anticipated that about 300 people would be on hand for the long-awaited event. Instead, nearly 800 people showed up for grand opening of what would be officially named The Center at Founders Village Senior & Community Center.
It was so crowded, the Fountain Valley Fire Department had to block the entrance and keep a large part of the crowd outside. Even then-county Treasurer John Moorlach couldn’t get in, newspaper articles about the event reported.
Even more ironic, the new senior center supervisor back then – Nora Webb – was locked out briefly.
Fast forward to Sept. 8 of this year, when the city celebrated the 15 year anniversary of the popular center at Talbert Avenue and Bushard Street.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, what would normally have been another standing-room-only celebration was instead a virtual recognition – a one-hour Zoom meeting that looked back at the history of the center, saluted those who helped shape the facility and its programming, and looked ahead at future opportunities.
The senior center was built on the northwest corner of Talbert and Bushard, which was once home to the first Fountain Valley School. Later it was rebuilt and repurposed to be used as Fountain Valley City Hall.
It would eventually become an elementary school again and was even used by students from Fountain Valley High School across the street.
Today, the same folks who once sat in wooden desks there probably attend exercise and health classes, enjoy afternoon bingo and card games or just friendly camaraderie.
While the senior center is closed like many city buildings around the state, the center’s staff has remained connected with local seniors.
The center’s Meals on Wheels program has been converted to a frozen meal “Grab and Go” parking lot drive-thru every Thursday. Registration is required and a suggested donation of $3 is requested per meal, but center officials said no one is turned away for inability to pay.
You must be 60 years or older and you must complete a registration form. If you have questions, call the center at 714-593-4446 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Every Tuesday, the center presents its “Bloomin Zoomin” seniors programs on such topics as home safety, dietary supplements and virtual travel, among others. Seniors can register and tune into various Zoom health seminars on such topics as diabetes, joint pain, and good health practices during the pandemic.
The center’s newsletter also presents a monthly primer on how to participate in a Zoom meeting.
“Our staff is extremely focused on our seniors,” Community Services Director Rob Frizzelle said. “We’ve looked at all avenues to reach out to the senior community
“And we’ve been making phone calls to any seniors interested in just talking,” he said. “Our main goal is to keep people socially engaged during this pandemic.”