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ALTON/GODFREY - Riverbender.com is shining the spotlight on another member of the North Alton-Godfrey Business Council - this time, local nonprofit Senior Services Plus. SSP has several programs and facilities to offer, including Meals On Wheels, The Wellness Center, their upcoming “Speed Connections” event, and more.

Senior Services Plus CEO Teresa Collins appeared on a recent episode of Our Daily Show! on Riverbender.com to share more about SSP and the programs, facilities, and other resources they offer, as well as their beneficial membership in the NAGBC.

Collins said this month marks the five-year anniversary of the opening of their Wellness Center, which features 10,000 square feet, an indoor walking track, a classroom, commercial-grade equipment, and “fabulous” trainers. She added that the Wellness Center is open to ages 16 and older and helps not only with physical well-being, but social well-being as well.

“A lot of times, even in the Wellness Center, you’re just seeing a lot of socialization and interaction happening, so it’s not just about that physical well-being,” Collins said. “It’s really neat when you have groups of all ages all interacting together.”

Collins said SSP used the COVID-19 pandemic when staff weren’t able to go out and assist the community to completely renovate the inside of their facility, including new walls, new flooring, and more, in addition to changes in programming. She said SSP is “constantly evolving” and evaluating what the community’s needs are.

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“Seniors … their wants and needs are changing, and so we’re doing some exciting things like the Book Club and foreign language groups, sign language classes, we’ve got the Speed Connections,” she said. “Taking this opportunity to make new friends, meet new people, or maybe reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in years that you went to elementary or high school with, someone that you worked with … that you haven’t seen in years. Those things, to us, are just as important as that informational or educational aspect.”

“Speed Connections” will be a speed-dating event for seniors this Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the School House Grill located at SSP at 2603 North Rodgers Ave. in Alton. Seniors seeking romantic companionship, friendship, and more are welcome to join and will be given nametags corresponding to their interest.

While Collins said there’s already a large group signed up, tickets are still available for the fast-approaching “Speed Connections” event for $10 each and can be purchased via the SSP website. You can also call 618-465-3298 ext. 116 to register for this event, or register at the event in person. To learn more, see this related story on Riverbender.com.

SSP also facilitates a Meals On Wheels program which consists of a small staff that works daily to prep and package meals for delivery by a hybrid force of staff and volunteer delivery drivers. While they used to only deliver five meals a week, Collins said a recent boost in federal and state funding has allowed them to now deliver up to seven meals every week to include meal delivery on weekends. She emphasized how vital a service this is for many seniors in the community.

“These individuals, many of them do not have access to food otherwise. This is often the only meal they’re eating all day, so it’s important they’re receiving something that’s very nutritious,” she said. “Many seniors in our community and others don’t have family living nearby, and so it is truly a reliance on this service.”

SSP has not only been part of the Alton-area community in general for years, they’ve also had long-term involvement with the area’s business community. Collins said SSP has been part of the North Alton-Godfrey Business Council for many years, and that there are many benefits to being part of the organization.

“One of the greatest rewards I think we get from being part of the group is just the connections - the networking and the connections that are made with other community members, community leaders, business owners, and looking at how we can collaborate and partner on different events and activities - so for us, that’s been really important,” she said.

To learn more about SSP and the North Alton-Godfrey Business Council, see the full interview with Collins at the top of this story or on Riverbnder.com/video.

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