It’s been more than 5 years since the seniors of Red Hook, Brooklyn, had a place to call their own. Irrevocably damaged when superstorm Sandy hit, the RAICES Red Hook Senior Center on Wolcott Street left many seniors displaced. The seniors found a temporary home in the basement of the Joseph Miccio Community Center, sharing the location with a daycare and other community services.
On January 5, the doors officially opened to the senior’s new space at 110 West 9 Street. The facility is open to the public weekdays, and features a game and exercise room, a fully-equipped computer center, and a dining facility serving the seniors breakfast and lunch. While the temporary location had limited space, the new facility has ample room for classes and activities such as computer, language, and exercise classes that previously were impossible to hold.
Over the past year, EmblemHealth has worked to support the Red Hook Senior Center community, and provide programming centered on wellness and Medicare Advantage options. As time went on and the new facility had yet to open, many of the seniors expressed feelings of being forgotten and were thankful EmblemHealth was there to support them.
“It’s taken us a long time to be in this building and now the seniors are happy to be here,” said Maria Sanchez, Red Hook Senior Center Director, and EmblemHealth member. “It was long overdue. It really proves that through the ups and downs, we will prevail here in the Red Hook Senior Center. I am happy to be affiliated with EmblemHealth and really appreciate everything they have done for us, and are happy to continue this partnership.”
On January 24, the center hosted the Fan Food Program, a food pantry serving the community. The space was bustling with seniors, some who had been members at the old location and some who were visiting for the first time. Previously, the center could only accommodate about 40 seniors daily. Now with the new space, Sanchez expects daily participation to grow to at least 100 seniors. The center plans to continue hosting the Fan Food Program bi-monthly and adding many new programs to serve the Red Hook community for years to come.