Around noon everyday, dozens of seniors meet in the Pleasanton Senior Center dining hall to see what new greetings will find them. The daily lunch service offers much more than just food; it's a chance for friends, family and newcomers to mingle and offer support to one another.
Local residents have been gathering at the center -- and finding community and purpose inside its walls -- for three decades now.
Having opened its doors in 1993, the city-operated Senior Center on Sunol Boulevard reached its milestone 30th anniversary this month. Over the years the center has been established as a Tri-Valley institution, offering vital resources to its visitors.
"The Pleasanton Senior Center has been a dedicated space for seniors to discover, connect and thrive," said Zack Silva, city recreation supervisor. "For 30 years now, seniors have visited from all over the Tri-Valley to experience our stable opportunities for recreation, resources and socializing."
"The center offers informational presentations, fitness programs and socially driven drop-in programs -- these offerings serve as the backbone of the Senior Center community and help achieve the center's mission," Silva added.
Year-round, the staff and volunteers work to organize trips, outings and classes for local visitors. The center offers dozens of exercise classes, from zumba to yoga to core training. Most of these activities are provided for free or at a low cost.
The center is made up of a library, large dining hall, gift shop and various recreation rooms.
In one room visitors can play an intense game of ping pong, while in the room next door a group of women may be leading a crocheting class, and tucked away to the side is a one-room woodshop where guests can come in to create handmade trinkets.
Ken Morgan, a woodcarver, oversees the woodshop's drop-in hours. Morgan spends most of his free time in the shop, along with fellow shop supervisors Cindy Pitner and Frank Hartley.
"The old rule was that folks couldn't come in here unless they were 55 and older. Then the center opened up to younger and middle-aged adults," Morgan said. Although primarily in the woodshop, Morgan has enjoyed using the center's other resources like the exercise classes.
Hartley, who comes from an engineering background, builds woodworking items like a fully functional wooden pinball machine with complete electrical wiring and a timer.
"We work on projects like this. It's interesting to see all the new tools and creations people come up with," Hartley said. "Before COVID-19, more people came in here and then it started to slow down. But now slowly it's starting to pick back up."
Silva shared that the center has recently introduced a new list of activities to be offered at the center.
"The city plans to continue its role as a popular Tri-Valley destination for seniors by offering innovative programs," he said. "Recently we have introduced new programs such as calligraphy, ikebana flower arranging and pickleball workshops. We strive to offer something of interest for all seniors in Pleasanton."
In celebration of the milestone anniversary, the center has organized a series of events throughout the month. This upcoming Thursday (Sept. 28) the center plans to host its anniversary social at 2 p.m.
Music, games and crafts will be available for free at the celebration. Visitors can also look over a selection of resources related to transportation, health care and recreation.
"We understand the importance of the Senior Center to the community. Its attendance is consistently high; over 7,500 visits or deliveries are managed each month through the Senior Center," Silva said. "We have dedicated staff, volunteers and participants who bring the center to life."
The Pleasanton Senior Center is located at 5353 Sunol Blvd., less than a mile from downtown Pleasanton. Regular operating hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. To learn more, visit cityofpleasantonca.gov or call 925-931-5365.