Cupcakes made by Chef Fred Ortiz and Chef Mike Mason will be part of the LARSO ‘Betty’s Birthday Benefit’ through June 12. Courtesy photo
The Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization has received a small grant from Los Alamos MainStreet to promote, “Betty’s Birthday Benefit.” Previous plans were underway to celebrate the original grand opening of the Betty Ehart Senior Center, on June 12. Since things have changed, they didn’t want to miss the chance to boost spirits.
“Right now, continues to be a critical time to support local businesses in safe ways, which includes ordering takeout or delivery, shopping their online stores, and purchasing gift cards now for use at a later time,” says Lauren McDaniel, Director of Los Alamos MainStreet. “We are excited to support community-driven initiatives like Betty’s Birthday Benefit hosted by the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization, which continue to emphasize buying local.”
LARSO, which runs both senior centers, is asking for small birthday donations to enhance both centers but the goal is also to benefit many small businesses in town. The amount is not important, even a dollar will do great things. The collection and some appropriate activities will be broadcast, in the near future.
“Our vow is to spend every penny raised for this project, right in our own community (Los Alamos and White Rock), said Bernadette Lauritzen, senior center director. “So, drop a dollar in an envelope and add your name too, some lucky winners will receive a prize. You can place them in the mail, in our donation boxes, or pass it to us during our drive thru lunch. We will collect from now until June 12.”
The LARSO team plans to use the funds raised to stain the gazebo and planters in the Day Out patio, buy new seeds and compost for Mike’s flower beds, and in White Rock, create new bulletin boards for the senior centers, especially to honor the people we have lost throughout our closure and more.
The centers would like to do something nice for staff members that have been going above and beyond the call of duty, during this changing time. “We’re happy and honored to be working, but staff is working very hard, each and every day,” said Lauritzen. “It would be nice to use some of these funds to support a local business and thank staff at the same time.” The programs aren’t always able to give annual raises and with the nature of the served population funding will be impacted for a very long time.
Lauritzen says the directors of senior centers across the state attend weekly virtual meetings with department directors to continuously plan for the future. There is no precedence for what is happening and the many changes made to current services being provided by senior centers. There is great fear among directors that numbers will continue to increase and the funds may completely run out. They also contemplate the near future and if they will be put in the situation of raising funds to provide direct services. This week, one senior center director asked if centers could receive food stamps and there’s concern for the food chain supply and how it could affect centers too.
You can find information on supporting local businesses at BuyNMLocal.com and on the website for the Los Alamos MainStreet and the Chamber of Commerce. The programs continue to provide updates on local business operations and business owner videos through their websites and social media channels.