Officials of the Valley View Area Chamber of Commerce will host a soup luncheon fundraiser on behalf of the Valley View Senior Center, set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at the center, 101 N. Lee St. in Valley View.
The lunch will feature various homemade soups, chili, crackers, desserts, and drinks. Hosts will also present a silent auction with tables closing at different times and a “fifty-fifty” pot split to raise funds for the center.
Event proceeds are earmarked for the senior center, located on the town square and currently facing some extensive repair issues inside the building and on the roof. Funds are needed both for this and to operate the center.
Today, the center serves meals to senior citizens twice a week and center employees deliver food to local residents in need. The building is also used for senior activities and is available to the public for rent to host weddings, parties, showers and family reunions.
Background on the center
The center was the “brainchild” of Mary Bierschenk during the 1970s, who felt a public center would provide positive activities for citizens of Valley View. She later consulted the Texoma Area on Aging in Sherman to seek funds for a senior center, but at that time, all funds were committed elsewhere. This did not deter her; she sought permission from the Catholic Church to prepare meals and serve senior citizens at the St. John’s Parish Hall.
Her dream for a senior center began to form following a meeting with former Lions Club members who owned the old Presbyterian church and parking lot on the southwest corner of the Valley View town square. Members later signed the building and land over to Bierschenk for the purpose of building the senior center. But she quickly found out it would be to expensive to remodel the old church, so it was determined that a crew should dismantle the bricks on the building so that they could be sold.
Several citizens signed a note to obtain the monies needed to begin the senior center, which would be made of metal. Work began and a grant was finally obtained during the late 1970s to assist with some of the expenses from Area on Aging Agency. Senior citizens of Valley View assisted with the painting on the inside of the building — a 2,700-square-foot facility — and labor for building was donated by many of Valley View citizens.
Bierschenk was instrumental in getting Valley View incorporated into a town which allowed grant money for the senior center and in getting meals cooked on site twice a week. She also served as the first mayor of Valley View at the age of 68, and was re-elected four terms.
In 1987, Bierschenk received and “Outstanding Individual Award” from the Southwest Society on Aging in Albuquerque, N.M. This award is given to one individual in five states who has had a significant impact on the lives of older Americans.
For more information, call (940) 726-3922.