State advocacy director visits AARP

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 Nancy Stanton, State Director of Advocacy for AARP, was the first guest speaker when the local AARP chapter met on Sept. 21 at the Lodge of Otter Springs.
She brought us much information on Social Security and some of the changes that Washington is looking to make.  She circulated a petition for us to sign telling Washington that we do not want them to touch our Social Security to help close the deficit.
She also brought two beautiful cakes commemorating the 75th birthday of the Social Security Administration.  President Randy Durden received a plaque celebrating the 35th anniversary of Gilchrist County AARP Chapter No. 2133. 
Stanton informed us that we are now the 4th largest AARP Chapter in the state with a present count of 169 members.  This total puts us 16 members behind Ormond Beach. Congratulations to all of our hard working officers.
 Anna Wood of Nurse on Call-Homecare spoke on the services that her company offers. Please remember that when we need home healthcare, we have choices and do not have to take the company that the doctor or nursing home recommends.
Chamber of Commerce Director Kyle Stone came to remind us about "Cancer Relay for Life" which is coming up very shortly in our county.
Once again, this month, as in the past three months, we were visited by candidates who are looking for our votes on Tuesday, Nov. 2.  Please take the time to examine the candidates that are running for office; also, be sure to learn about the many amendents that will be placed on the ballot.  Every time you vote, you change history.  Please be sure that you are an informed voter since everyone is depending on you.
Our Community Activities Coordinator brought us a report on the new Senior Center.  For those of you who are not aware, there are activities going on at the Trenton Center daily.  The bus to Walmart stops at the Center at 10 a.m. on the first Friday of each month.  For more information on activities or the bus ride, call Norm Conti at 352-463-6646.
 Thank you to Sheriff Daniel and Cindy Slaughter for bringing two large trays of smoked pork and turkey which was the main meat in our delicious luncheon.  Chapter members brought vegetables, salads and desserts to help round out the luncheon. Eighty-six members and guests enjoyed the lunch.
In October,  our regular meeting on the third Tuesday of each month, will have a pantry clean out.  Please bring at least five cans in hand. They will benefit our local Senior Food Pantry. They will fulfill the October project which has been sent down to us by the national and state office as they proclaimed October as "Feed the Hungry" month.
Past meeting reports:

ARP held its regular monthly at the Lodge at Otter Springs on July 20, at 10:30 a.m.
 What a great party we had celebrating Lillian Bemis's 97th birthday.  She was presented with a certificate for her years of loyalty to our chapter along with a Lifetime Membership.
Our guest speaker was Connie Sanchez, Supervisor of Elections for Gilchrist County, along with her assistance Tracy Ridgeway.  She told us not to forget to exercise our priviledge to vote.  The first primary will be Tuesday, August 24th.  At our next meeting we have invited many candidates to come and speak on the issues that they feel are the most important and will get you to vote for them.  I am not going to tell you who will be there, so you will have to come to the meeting to see.  Thanks, Connie, for the reuseable red & white shopping bags and the other "goodies" that you always show up with.
After many interesting committee reports, a delicious pot luck lunch was served to everyone who attended the meeting.   
Finally, our new Senior Center opened on Monday, Aug. 2. Many AARP members were at the opening along with the Gilchrist County elected officials and the members of Suwannee River Economic Council Board of Directors.  If you missed the grand opening, please go by and take a tour of this beautiful facility, and if you are 60 plus, you can have lunch there any day.  I would reccomend that you call one hour before arrival if you wish to eat there.  The number is 352-463-1895.
The Free Bus made its second run from North Gilchrist County to Walmart and back.  Along the way, we picked up 21 riders and as an added bonus, 20 of us plus our driver, V.C. Cannon, were treated to a delicious luncheon at our new Senior Center.  Thank you, Sally Browning and her assistant Janice for serving us. 
We have made President Randy Durden's dream of "150 AARP Chaper Members" come true. As of the last meeting we have 151 members.
I have a few AARP shirts available and can order more at $6 each.  Let's be proud of our chapter and wear our bright red shirts.