Barbara Ray, Vale senior center president, talks about the variety of activities at the facility last week. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Barbara Ray wants to get the word out that there is plenty to do at the Vale Senior Center.

Ray, the president of the center who leads a board of 12 members, said the doors to the facility are open five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 “Seniors need to know there are other people out there like them,” said Ray.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, the five-year-old building is a good place for seniors to get a meal, furnished by the Malheur Council On Aging and Community Services. Yet more than that, it’s a place that offers entertainment and fellowship all week, said Ray.

“Our center is open to any senior,” said Ray. “Our lunches average about 30 people.”

Ray said weekly events at the center include Pinochle every Friday night and a dance with a live band the third Saturday of every month.

Exercise classes are offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she said. Ray said on Tuesdays there is a craft class from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Thursday is kind of an open day. We’ve thought about having a cooking class,” said Ray.

Friday offers card games and a potluck lunch.

“Then we play cards until 2 p.m.,” said Ray.

Cards are a big deal at the center, said Ray. Especially popular, she said, is a game called Hand and Foot, a variation of Canasta that is much like Rummy.

“You kind of get addicted to it,” said Ray.

The center also has a selection of donated clothes spread over three tables at the west end of the building. Last Friday, Ray strolled over and showed off the tables packed with shirts, pants and shoes. Ray, 88, said she plans to keep the center’s extended hours into the future.

Ray, who lives in Vale and is a retired Bi-Mart employee, said she thinks it is important for seniors to get out of their house. She believes interaction with others is healthy.

“It is just good to know you live longer if you are active,” said Ray.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: pat@maheurenterprise.com or 541-473-3377.