TOLEDO, Ohio — It was all smiles at the Margaret Hunt Senior Center on Wednesday. The center opened back up for in-person activities for the first time in nearly 15 months after the coronavirus pandemic shut it down.
"For me, personally, it's like returning to the first day of school!" said Glenna Berres, Senior Advocate/Outreach Coordinator at Margaret Hunt Senior Center.
"It's so exciting to see everybody come in!" said one visitor.
Pool, crafting and Wii bowling were a few of the many activities visitors missed during their time away.
And while the activities are great, many were just craving in-person, mask-less interaction.
"I was really glad we were able to come back and play pool and get back with our friends! And meet everybody, I mean these are people we've known for a long time!" said Darlene and Bill, visitors at the center.
"I'm so tired of sitting, I don't want to sit anymore" said volunteer and visitor Holli Pugsley.
Many of the visitors are the center have been pretty much alone over the past year, as a lot of their social life happens at the center.
"I just couldn't stand being by myself, it just got too monotonous" said Pugsley.
"I'm lucky, I've got her," said Bill while putting his hand on Darlene, "but a lot of seniors don't have anybody. And when the senior center closes, they just don't have anybody."
"We didn't catch [the coronavirus], a lot of our friends did, but we care about our health and we care about each other. So we were very careful of what we did." Bill added.
Coordinators with the center say while everything is not fully back up and running just yet, they realize many of their visitors needed something to do and wanted to celebrate their health after being incredibly cautious for more than a year.
"They are just so eager to get back, first of all because many of them are lonely, and some of them are just go getters and they want to go!" said Berres.