JENKINS TWP. — Members of the Jenkins Township Senior Citizens Organization raised a glass, or a cup actually, of wine at their recent meeting.
It wasn’t to toast one particular day, but rather the last 40 years as the organization hit that milestone.
The occasion was celebrated with a special dinner at the Jenkins Township Fire Department where members laughed, ate and shared stories.
Ellen Mondlak, 77, has been a member for 10 years and serves as the organization’s secretary. She isn’t surprised to see it hit such a milestone.
“It’s the friendliness of people,” said Mondlak, “They all try to help each other if it’s needed.”
The Jenkins Township Senior Citizens Organization was started in 1977 with about 100 members.
Today, membership has dwindled significantly as there are about 39 members, according to the Jean Mudlock, 80, who is also the organization’s president.
“People have died,” she said. “The older people have died and a lot of the younger generation have moved away so we don’t have the numbers.”
Mudlock said, in order to join the group, a person must be at least 55 years old and pay a $6 annual fee. Being a resident of Jenkins Township is not a requirement.
Letters are sent out seeking new members, but the pleas are falling on deaf ears, according to Mudlock.
Due to the lack of membership, she said it’s hard for the organization to participate in fun activities.
“When I first got involved, we were able to have bus trips because we had enough people,” Mudlock said. “But, it’s come down in numbers and we don’t have enough to do a bus trip or something like that.”
Eileen Burns, 84, has been a member for around 20 years and is one of the club’s longest-standing members. She joined the organization with her late husband Bill.
“He was born and raised in Jenkins Township,” Burns said of her husband. “He knew all the people and I said to him that we should join some organization, maybe the Pittston Seniors. He said ‘No, I want to belong to Jenkins.’ At that time, their bylaws required you to be a resident of Jenkins Township, but they changed their bylaws and we were able to join.”
Burns said she and her husband were residents of Pittston Township when they joined.
Although there aren’t enough members and funds to go on trips, the members still enjoy their monthly meetings that involve going reviewing the club’s budget, bingo, raffles and camaraderie.
Burns enjoys the current state of the organization and is okay with no longer going on trips.
“I think we’re beyond that,” she said. “We tripped all over.”
The organization may be smaller than it was once before, but it continues to thrive.
“We have a good time here,” Mudlock said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher