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Piano donation to Council on Aging means more than just music

Posted: August 9, 2015 4:59 p.m.
Updated: August 10, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Provided by the UWKC/

Pictured from left to right are Denise Mangum of Council on Aging (COA), Tim DuBose of Habitat for Humanity, Bruce Little of COA, John Henry Ransom of Habitat for Humanity and UWKC President Donny Supplee.

Earlier this summer, a family contacted the United Way of Kershaw County (UWKC) saying it wanted to donate a piano. The piano would end up with the Kershaw County Council on Aging (COA), a UWKC partner agency.

“It was a Godsend when someone donated that piano to the United Way. (UWKC President) Donny Supplee got in touch with us and got it delivered,” COA Director Bruce Little said. “Some people might discount it and say ‘it’s just a piano,’ but to us it’s not just a piano. It’s a place for gathering, for socialization and comfort. It’s an instrument that brings people together.”

Another UWKC partner agency, Habitat for Humanity, packed and moved the piano to COA.

 “In many communities teamwork is not that common. Our community is blessed to have agencies that think beyond themselves and reach out to help each other,” Supplee said. 

COA has served the community for 40 years and provides a variety of services to senior citizens.

“We serve the greater Kershaw County area. We are the Meals on Wheels provider for the whole county. We also give home delivered meals and we have what we call congregate clients -- they come here or to one of our other two centers for camaraderie with other seniors, for social activities, games and crafts,” Little said.

The other two COA centers are located in Lugoff and Bethune. The Lugoff center is on U.S. 601 at Greater Faith and Joy Tabernacle Church and is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Bethune center is in the Bethune Community Center on Timrod Road and is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

“Probably, on average, 20 people attend Bethune and in Lugoff about 22 attend. Here (in Camden) we average about 25 to 28 daily. Our biggest days are when we have dancing which is every third Thursday, we will have approximately 60 seniors here,” Little said.

Dancing is just one of the activities the COA tries to provide to seniors. Little emphasized how important it is for people to remain active socially, physically and mentally as they age. 

“We are trying to be creative with keeping our seniors active. We play bingo here a lot but we want to do more than just bingo. We want to do more dancing activities, more crafts, more singing, more of the things that seniors would enjoy doing. We want to have activities that are engaging,” Little said. “One of big purposes of the Council on Aging is to have social outlets. As we get older, some of us start to get sedentary and that’s not good for us physically or mentally. A lot of our seniors are home alone or they don’t have people to keep them company, they feel lonely. So the centers are here to provide a place for socialization and a nourishing meal. It’s to provide a place to do health promotion exercises.”

Little said the donated piano is a significant part of entertaining seniors and providing that needed social outlet. He said the COA has someone come in monthly to play songs for its members. 

“It’s kind of like a church choir. We love to jam and to have a good time. Hopefully, it will draw other seniors to come,” Little said.

He also expressed hope people from the community would volunteer to come in and play.

“We would love for other people with a music al bent to come in. We have four weeks in a month and we would love for someone else to come to be an entertainer,” Little said. 

Little said there are other projects in the works for the seniors at COA. He hopes to have more trips -- once every other month – like the one just taken to Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Fla.

“We brainstormed and asked ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’ Someone suggested the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, it was organized to be three days,” Little said.

The COA is also working with the Kershaw County Recreational Department to establish special facilities and trainers for seniors to use.

Clients can apply for services through the Council on Aging by a referral basis. 

“The referral is to see what the needs are because it is a needs based program. It’s not about how much money you have. Someone might have a decent income but it goes all to their medications so they don’t have anything for food. Or they don’t have any place to socialize so they are homebound. It’s not about the money, it is about the need. We go through the assessment process and after the assessment is done they go from there,” Little said.

Little also said seniors who do not have a referral can still participate in COA activities. 

“We are trying to make this a destination area for seniors, a place where seniors can come and just congregate. This is not a place where everyone is ill or old or poor. This is a place for all seniors,” Little said.

Kershaw County Council on Aging can be reached at 432-8173 and is on 906 Lyttleton St., Camden.

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