Sky Valley Senior Center anticipates exciting changes in 2015

The Sky Valley Senior Center is under new management and will be heading in to 2015 revitalized and open to the entire community.
Volunteers of America Kitchen Coordinator Ann Marie Bunch and Chef Don Langhans have been working together to enhance the menu to offer made-from-scratch dishes that are both healthy and delicious.
The two have been busily cleaning, painting, organizing, brainstorming and planning a slew of new services that they hope to start offering in 2015 including a lunch delivery service, a box-lunch takeout service and once-a-month community dinners.
Bunch, a long-time senior center volunteer, has officially been promoted to VOA staff as the kitchen coordinator, and Chef Langhans has been volunteering at the center four days a week.
"Chef Don has been amazing. He has the greatest ideas,GÇ¥ said VOA Director Calei Vaughn. "We just can't say "thank you' enough to him.GÇ¥
Chef Langhans, who works as the head chef at the Inglewood Golf and Country Club in Kenmore, has been passionate about cooking all his life. He credits his involvement at the center entirely to Bunch.
"Ann Marie is the one responsible and in charge,GÇ¥ said Langhans. "I am here because of her.GÇ¥
The two have been working together to strategize ways to best serve the community as a whole. While the VOA's A-frame building has been long known as the Sky Valley Senior Center, Bunch wants to broaden their scope and make sure that the entire community knows that they are all welcome to come and eat lunch there.
"It's a lot of the same menu ideas that we had before, but we're expanding it to the community,GÇ¥ said Bunch. "I think everybody's original mindset is the senior center is only for seniors to eat; but it's a community senior center. So it's for the community, run by the seniors.GÇ¥
Lunch is served at the center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday through Thursday, and is $4 for senior center members and $6 for nonmembers. All the proceeds from the lunch program go directly back into funding the program and ensuring its future. Bunch and Langhans plan on re-opening for regular lunchtime meal service on Monday, Jan. 5.
Traditionally, the lunch program has offered a fresh salad bar, a selection of soups, a hot entr+¬e, dessert, coffee and other beverages. While they haven't made any drastic changes to the menu thus far, they have restructured the way the meals will be prepared by transitioning to ingredients that are both local and fresh.
"The food you'll be getting will be made from scratch,GÇ¥ said Langhans. "It's a healthy approach; cooking with fresh ingredients instead of processed.GÇ¥
They are also planning on a box-lunch takeout program as well as a lunch delivery service. Bunch and Langhans haven't ironed out all the guidelines yet, but are looking to service businesses within about a six-mile radius. An order minimum will be established for the service, and the $6 price tag will include the delivery cost.
Also in the works are plans for once-a-month community dinners that will give Sky Valley residents the opportunity to experience fine dining at an affordable price. Meant to give community members the opportunity to enjoy a gourmet, three-course meal away from kids, the community dinners will be for adults only. The first dinner will be take place sometime during the first two weeks of February.
Advanced reservations will be required for the community dinners, and tickets will cost $10 per person. Bunch and Langhans are looking for individuals as well as businesses in the community who might be interested in assisting with the community dinners by either volunteering to serve as an event host or hostess, or by sponsoring a portion of the meal.
Additionally, Langhans would like to start meeting with local farmers to further enhance his "Fresh and Local in 2015GÇ¥ initiative.
The revitalized center's inaugural event, the East Coast New Year's Eve Celebration, will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 31. The entire community is invited to attend, membership is not required. Made-from-scratch hors d'oeuvres will be served, and at 9 p.m. there will be a sparkling cider toast.
Saturday, Jan. 3, will mark the senior center's first pancake breakfast of 2015, which will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. On Monday, Jan. 5, the newly revitalized lunch program will begin.
Eventually, Langhans would like to start cooking classes out of the center for senior citizens as well as Sky Valley Food Bank recipients and other members of the community. He plans to emphasize cooking healthy and affordable meals made from fresh ingredients.
Mainly, Bunch would like to spread the word that all are welcome to come and partake in everything that the center has to offer.
"It's just the most exciting thing I've been involved in in a long time,GÇ¥ said Vaughn. "Out with the old; in with the new. Let's move forward and build this place up to being the senior center that it can be.GÇ¥
The Sky Valley Senior and Community Center is located in the A-frame at 617 First St. in Sultan. For more information on the new and improved center, contact the VOA at 360-793-2400. For updates on events, please visit the VOAs Facebook page at:


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