Mona Kaiser, Executive Director of Buckham West in Faribault told KDHL today she can hardly wait to get into a more "normal" year.  We are all feeling that way right?

Kaiser says 2020 was of course dominated by concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.  "Starting on St. Patrick's Day is when things changed for us.  We had to close our doors for several months just like everybody else and then we kind of cracked the door open a little bit and started opening our coffee shop again a couple mornings a week and that was going wonderfully.  We had maybe 20 or 30 people here in the morning in our great big space so we had lots of room to spread everybody out but then the Governor's order changed all that again."

Kaiser explained they fall in the same category as restaurants so when the Governor closes restaurants they also are required to shut their doors.

December of 2019 a ribbon cutting and open house was held for the newly expanded facility which used to be called the Faribault Area Senior Center.

Kaiser says the spacious building is just waiting for people, "It's new, it's beautiful and lots of opportunities are here."

Kaiser says anyone can become a member of Buckham West.  50 and older is primarily the ages, but people younger are currently members.

"This year we're renewing our membership for current or existing members.  The 2020 members are getting a free year of membership. So new members will pay $40 but existing members are getting a year free in 2021."

It's because the facility was not used or available for use most of the year.

The Buckham Center Executive Director says not all has been negative in 2020.  When congregate dining was shut down in March (like restaurants and bars) they started a curbside pickup service along with meal on wheels deliveries.  More people are participating in the curbside then were involved in the congregate dinings.

Kaiser points out, "There's a piece that's missing with the curbside that we can offer with the congregate program.  The socialization.  People can sit and have a meal with someone else.  That's so important for some people.  They can come here early and visit.  Meet people and eat a meal with someone else."

Kaiser believes once the vaccine has been given to a majority of the population they will be allowed to open their doors and provide the many programs and services they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Kaiser says many of her counterparts in other communities comment about the advantage Faribault has with the Community Center and Buckham Library connected to their facility.

People can check out books or use a public computer, take a swim or use the wieght room or gym and then relax with friends at Buckham West.

Buckham West, Community Center, Buckham Library Faribault All Connected. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Buckham West, Community Center, Buckham Library Faribault All Connected. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld


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