Harrah Senior Citizens Center volunteers and employees did not stop when the pandemic hit. Each day, they prepare 100 meals for pickup and delivery for seniors. Pictured here, l to r, are Shirley McKinney, Kim Reynolds, Caroline Rutledge, and Carol Sowle.
Pictured here are Harrah Senior Citizens Center volunteers, l to r, are Chuck Brimer, Rosemary Vermillion, Dana Burgin.

Shirley McKinney, a long-time volunteer at the Harrah Senior Citizens Center, answers phone calls while the kitchen full of fellow RSVP of Central Oklahoma volunteers moves in a swift, almost rhythmic, motion.
Since the pandemic, the Center’s five volunteers, all seniors themselves, and four staff members have not skipped a beat. When COVID-19 hit, the Center closed for gatherings, but the small but mighty team shifted into high gear, meeting a big need in their community for seniors now stuck at home—meals.
“We went from serving 60 meals a day before COVID to preparing 100 meals a day for delivery and drive-by pickup,” said Harrah Senior Citizens Center Director Kim Reynolds. “And our volunteers have showed up every day.”
In August, the Center served more than 3,200 meals. The ability to meet this continuing need is possible only with the help of the volunteers, staff, and the financial support of the Oklahoma County Nutrition Program, the City of Harrah and Areawide Aging Agency, said Reynolds
Prior to COVID-19, seniors came to the center five days a week for exercise classes, card games, snacks, conversation, and lunch. The Center also offers medical appointment and shopping services, which had to be put on hold for a few weeks. Volunteers make phone calls to check in with the homebound seniors. Some of the programs have recently opened back up—medical appointments and shopping trips, and patio bingo just started. Reynolds hopes that the Center will be completely reopened by early November.
“It is a very important social connection for our seniors,” said Reynolds. “If we weren’t here during this time, I’m concerned we would have lost some of our seniors.”
Shirley McKinney has volunteered with the Center for 25 years. In fact, she says, she started volunteering before she was even a senior herself. She has done a little bit of everything over the years from serving on the board and filling out daily Nutrition Program reports to preparing meals, selling dinner and auction tickets.
“Being here for me and for a lot of the seniors is like having another family,” she said. “It helps people to have a place to go to and get out among people. That’s why it’s been so important to stay connected with our seniors during COVID. The Center helps people to not be so lonely.”