By Leon Casas

CEO, Sierra Senior Providers-Senior Center

The mission of Sierra Senior Providers Inc. is to provide essential services and improve the quality of life for seniors.

In response to a variety of needs impacting our local seniors, SSPI has established an Outreach Services program to address some of these community needs. SSPI provides local medical transportation services and local errands for seniors 60 and older who are unable to drive, live in an area not well served by public transportation, and/or who cannot utilize public transit due to schedule conflicts, physical restrictions or special needs.

SSPI provides a hot lunch program at the Senior Center, Groveland Little House and Jamestown Community Hall. The program provides opportunities for seniors to obtain hot and nutritious meals, learn about nutrition, socialize with others and be in a supportive and caring environment.

The Senior Center is also the home of Meals On Wheels, which provides hot meals to homebound seniors four days per week. Meals On Wheels drivers provide an essential human connection for the client. Drivers are trained to identify any potential safety and health issues, which provides an added safety net for the client and family. Meals On Wheels also delivers donated food for the clients dog or cats, which helps support the clients and their pets.

In partnership with the Tuolumne County Library, SSPI has developed a “Books On Wheels” program, which delivers large print, fiction/nonfiction and audio books, DVD’s, music CDs and magazines.

The Firewood for Home Heating program provides firewood in partnership with the Sonora Sunrise Rotary Club. The program is primarily directed toward lower-income, homebound and frail adults 60 and older whose primary source of heat is from firewood.

SSPI is highly dependent upon grant funding sources, community donations and fundraising to continue to offer these services. As noted below, an All You Can Eat Crab Feed will be held to help raise funds for SSPI’s Outreach Services.

Crab feed

An all-you-can eat crab feed will be held at 5 p.m. Feb. 17 (rescheduled from Jan. 27) at the Senior Center. The event is a fundraiser for Sierra Senior Providers-Senior Center, and proceeds will benefit Meals On Wheels, the Senior Lunch Program, transportation services and the Firewood Delivery Program.

The meal will include all-you-can-eat fresh crab, clam chowder, salad, sourdough roll and a brownie. Dinner costs $40 per person, and tickets are available at the center, 540 Greenley Road in Sonora. Purchase tickets early.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available for local businesses and community groups. Please join us for a fun evening, raising funds for seniors in need throughout our community.

Free tax help

Tax assistance is available at the Senior Center.

The AARP will offer help every Wednesday through April 11. Appointments will be on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. to noon. Information sheets regarding required information are available at the center.

The VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) will provide assistance on Saturdays Feb. 10 through April 14 (excluding Feb. 17 and March 31). Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Appointments can also be scheduled for other days of the week. To make an appointment, call (209) 588-6916.

CHP senior
driver education class

A driver education class for older adults will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 17 at the center. The class is free and taught by a California Highway Patrol officer. The class will refresh drivers’ knowledge of rules of the road and offer driving tips. Those who complete the class may qualify for a discount on auto insurance.

Contact CHP officer Faustino Pulido at (209) 984-3944 to register.

Candy for Valentine’s Day

Valentine See’s Candies are available for purchase at the center.

“All you need is love … but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” — Charles M. Schulz.

Valentine buffet

A Valentine’s Day buffet will be served from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 14 at the center. The meal will offer cheese or beef ravioli in marinara sauce, Caesar salad, fruit salad, butternut squash, a wheat roll and a valentine cookie and milk.

Reservations are required by calling (209) 533-2622.

For more information, call or drop by the Senior Center weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., call (209) 533-2622 or go online to