The Senior Pinochle Club at the Battle Ground Senior Center helps keep community members and senior citizens entertained, while also giving them an opportunity to socialize.
The club was originally started by Leonard Peterson in 1976. Pinochle is a 48-card game that features four players.
Coordinator Michelle Phillips has been spearheading the group for about 13 years. There are currently between 17 and 20 people who participate.
“We have a beautiful group,” Phillips said. “Everyone gets along beautifully.”
The pandemic put a pause on playing for a while, but the group has been able to reconvene since COVID-19 cases have decreased and restrictions have loosened.
“When the pandemic hit, I got cancer and the community came in when we could play again,” said Phillips.
The club has garnered community support as businesses like Safeway, Taco Bell, Rocky’s Pizza and Northwood Public House have donated things like food.
Phillips said the City of Battle Ground has also pitched in by providing things like kitchen supplies.
“I think it’s important that our community knows how helpful they’ve been and how much our group appreciates it,” Phillips said. “If the faucet is leaking, they’re right here to maintain this building. Kim (Cederholm) is always there for us, anything we need.”
While Phillips was diagnosed and treated for cancer last year, she said Gary Cooper took her place. Cooper, a fellow senior in the club, helps as he handles the finances for the club. He also helps make coffee and opens the club up as Phillips cooks lunch for their meetings. Sometimes the lunches feature three or four courses because some of the seniors are not able to cook for themselves. They also provide dessert during Pinochle Club meetings.
“We ask for a $5 contribution,” she said. “If they don’t have it, that’s OK. That’s to cover the supplies and the food. It helps.”
Phillips said since she’s been involved, the club has lost 13 people, “which has been very sad, because we’re like family.”
They do, however, get new members periodically, she said. All of those who participate in the club need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because some of the seniors are in high risk categories, Phillips said.
Phillips said the money the club raises is funneled back into the community as the group buys food from local businesses and supports other causes.
If a senior falls ill, the pinochle club makes and delivers food to them. As for seniors who can’t drive anymore, Phillips said members of the club will help transport them.
“We just take care of each other,” Phillips said. “Like I said, we’re family, and we welcome people into our group.”
The Senior Pinochle Club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Battle Ground Senior Center, 116 NE Third Ave., Battle Ground.
They meet at 11:30 a.m. and take a break for dessert at 2 p.m. The meetings then end at 4 p.m.
People in the group often bring side dishes and desserts.
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