Bonner Senior Center in Portage Reopens


Members of the Bonner Senior Center were treated to lunch Tuesday, July 12 during a picnic marking the reopening of the center some 16 months after it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo provided)

In Portage, members of the Bonner Senior Center returned Monday, June 12 for the center’s grand reopening picnic. Closed for nearly 16 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the center, operated by the Portage Township Trustee’s office, is once again offering a full slate of activities, including lunch, for Portage Township seniors as of Tuesday, July 13. “It is great to be here and great to see you guys,” Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy told some 200 members who gathered under a large tent to enjoy each other’s company, food and music. Clancy said safety is of the utmost importance for the seniors. Those who are not vaccinated will be asked to wear masks and to socially distance when possible. Clancy said guidelines have been put into place to keep seniors safe. While the building was closed during this time, center director Robin Wilkening said staff continued to offer services to members. Each day they provided approximately 160 meals to members through either delivery or curbside pick-up. Clancy thanked partner agencies, Northwest Indiana Community Action Corporation, City of Portage, State of Indiana, Portage Township Schools and Portage Township YMCA, for helping provide services to seniors while the center was closed.

Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy addresses members of the Bonner Senior Center Tuesday, July 12 as they celebrate the reopening of the center. (Photo provided)

He also thanks the Portage Township Food Pantry and its director, Bobbie DeKemper, for stepping up during the height of the pandemic to provide food for seniors and others. Wilkening said they also provided groceries to seniors during the winter and provided activities such as birthday gift cards, Valentine’s Day treats, St. Patrick’s Day music and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day recognition gifts during the curbside meal pick-up program. Clancy also announced the newest project, the construction of an outdoor trail around the perimeter of the center’s property will begin in approximately two months. The hard surface trail, which has been five years in planning with the input of center members, will be dotted with workout stations geared for seniors. The stations will be handicapped accessible. Donations from Northwest Indiana Community Action Corporation, Samuelson Insurance and the center’s Ways and Means Committee is funding the exercise equipment.

Bonner Senior Center Director Robin Wilkening gives as hug to a center member upon her arrival to the reopening picnic on Tuesday, July 12. (Photo provided)

The center on Lexington Avenue in Portage will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Dues for Portage Township residents is $20 per year; out-of-township resident dues are $40 per year. The deadline to pay dues for 2022 is Dec. 1. Dues will not be required for the remainder of 2021. Here is a link for more information.