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Goshen Nutrition Center opens doors in new city hall

Dark clouds hung overhead and rain peppered down, but it was a great day in the land of Goshen.

The community gathered Tuesday morning to celebrate the opening of the Goshen Nutrition Center in the new town hall. The 3,000 square-foot nutrition center will be "home away from home" for the 50-plus senior citizens who have signed up for the program, said Sylvia Bowers, director of the South Central Alabama Development Commission Area Agency on Aging,

"We are here today to celebrate a very special day - the opening of this wonderful facility that will be so beneficial to Goshen," Bowers said. "We want the senior citizens of this community to think of the Goshen Nutrition Center as their home away from home and we want them to take advantage of all the other services offered through our agency."

Bowers said 50 Goshen residents have signed up to participate in the nutrition program, but the limit per day is 25, at this time.

Naomi Miles, center director, said she is working diligently on a schedule that will allow as many people as possible to participate in the program.

"I'm scheduling some seniors to come on Tuesdays and Thursdays and others to come on the other three days," she said. "That way we can serve more people until, hopefully, we will be able to increase the number of people we can serve."

Maud Garrick, nutrition coordinator for the agency, said whether or not the number is increased will depend on the budget for the next fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2003.

The Goshen Nutrition Center is the 18th center in the South Central area, which includes, Bullock, Butler, Crenshaw, Lowndes, Macon and Pike counties. It is the third center in Pike County. The other two are in Troy and Brundidge.

However, the nutrition centers are much more than a place to come and be fed, Bowers said.

"The centers are also a place for fellowship and fun," she said. "And, for our agency,

this nutrition center is an opportunity to partner with the people of Goshen and reach out and touch the lives of the senior citizens of this community and improve the quality of life in the land of Goshen."

The new Goshen Town Hall is a 5,000-square foot facility that houses the nutrition center and the municipal offices.

The town council members found it difficult to hide their pride in the new facility.

"We've worked and worked and all of a sudden it's here," said Guy Bruce, council member. "This facility is going to be a blessing for our town. The Lord has really blessed us and we're very proud that our community now has something nice for all its citizens."

Norma McLeod said when the council first made the decision to tear down the old buildings on Goshen's main street and build a new facility, many people questioned their wisdom.

"They asked us why we wanted to tear the buildings down, they were history," she said. "But, now that they've seen what a nice building we have, they're happy about it. And we are very proud of it. I think everybody is."

Ezella

Taylor and Ella Saulsberry were two of the 25 seniors who enjoyed the first meal served at the center.

"I never thought it would be this nice," Saulsberry said. "I'm surprised. And, it's so big. It's wonderful and I know that we're all going to enjoy it. We needed something nice like this in Goshen and now we've got it."

Taylor said the food was good; the facility "really nice" and she enjoyed her first day at the center.

"They played a lot of pretty music and the food was good and there was plenty of it," she said. "I'm coming every time I can. I'm real proud of this for us."

The Goshen Town Hall was financed through USDA Rural Development grant and loan funding and with town dollars. Open house for the town hall will be held in July. The day and time will be announced at a later date.