Sally service, pictured here in an Observer file photo, is the director of the Quesnel branch of OAPO. File photo

Quesnel’s OAPO celebrates 60 years

Columnist Ginnie Dunn Webb writes about the organization’s history

Celebrating a 60th Anniversary this year is the Quesnel Branch of the Old Age Pensioners Organization (OAPO). It was June 22, 1959, when the Provincial body of the OAPO granted a Charter to the Quesnel Branch #77. The Quesnel Branch was sponsored by the Alexandria OAPO.

The first meeting of people interested in seniors’ issues brought out 15 people to a meeting at the United Church Hall. Together with 12 more people, they joined the newly-formed Quesnel Seniors’ Association. There have been many successes over the years.

When Fraser Village Housing Society (FVHS) was formed in the early 1970s, the OAPO became involved and began a fundraising drive to raise money to pay for the construction of what became the Golden Centre in the basement of the FVHS.

Among the donors were the Rotary, the Elks, the Lions Club and the Kinsmen, as well as many others.

The $45,000.00 mortgage was paid off in one year! It was Sept. 9, 1983, when they held a mortgage barbecue to celebrate in front of 100 spectators. OAPO President, Dorothy Thom and FVHS President, Herman Vandeweghe shared the pleasure of burning the mortgage.

This article ran in a May 1959 edition of the Quesnel Observer.

The next major project for this group was to offer a sizable donation to help develop what is now the Quesnel and District Seniors’ Centre, which is operated separately under the Quesnel and District Seniors Society.

Current ongoing activities that take place at Golden Centre include lunch on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Where else can you get a freshly made sandwich, a healthy tasty bowl of soup, a homemade dessert and coffee for $6?!

Card games are always popular and include drop-in cribbage, two crib tournaments a year and more. New players are always welcomed.

Other Senior groups such as Duplicate Bridge and the Quesnel Quilters’ Guild use the facility regularly.

The Centre hosts some special events every year, including the Over 80’s Tea and Christmas Dinner and more. Also, the Golden Centre hosts Memorial Teas with no rental charge provided the OAPO does the catering.

Aside from their own activities, the OAPO supports other local initiatives.

They donate to the Quesnel Good Cheer at Christmas, they donated to the Lions’ Seniors’ Housing projects, and they have given support to the Legion’s Dock Accessibility at Dragon Lake. As well, every year, they donate $500 bursaries to local graduating students who plan a career in a field which will benefit seniors.

READ MORE: This and that for seniors

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