The Blackburn-Dennis Community Center, at 208 6th St. in Fowler, has turned a setback into an opportunity.

Previously, senior citizens were eligible for community lunches run through SAGE Services, as with many of the senior citizen center venues in the Arkansas Valley. However, on Feb. 26, SAGE discontinued congregate meal services at Blackburn.

The Board of the Blackburn-Dennis Community Center (BDCC) has responded by organizing food services unique to Fowler. In their approach, the whole community is welcomed to attend and eat lunch  together, with donations requested from those able to do so.

This effort depends upon volunteers, including cook Cheri Silcocks, who previously was paid to work at BDCC by SAGE. The Board hopes to provide a paid staff position for this role.

The effort is also dependent upon food donations, and Fowler donors have been admirably meeting this need. As time goes forward, the Board intends to publish lists of donations sought, as well as acknowledgements of thanks for donors (unless they wish to remain anonymous).

Lunch will be offered from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. A suggested donation of $5, or $3 for those 55 or older, is encouraged but not required. All are welcome to socialize and enjoy these congregate meals.

The Board emphasizes that the Fowler building "has a long and storied history, beginning as a stable in the late 19th century, and then subsequent utilization as a shooting gallery, roller-skate rink, bingo and dancing parlor, and as an American Legion meeting hall" before coming to its present status as the BDCC under a nonprofit board.

The facility is available for contracted rental use as well, with $50 for four hours and $10 for each additional hour. Receptions, birthdays, reunions, and other events may be held at BDCC.

For more information about the building's history and uses, please call (719) 826-2035.