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New Senior Center director hits the ground running

July 6th, 2017 under Features
(staff photo by JOHN DANIEL GARCIA) Josie Madrid and Callie Meeks

(staff photo by JOHN DANIEL GARCIA)
Josie Madrid and Callie Meeks

Josie Madrid joins staff

By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA

johndaniel@bigbendnow.com

MARFA – Though longtime Marfa resident Callie Meeks has only held her new position as executive director of the City of Marfa’s Nutrition Center a short time, she is already all smiles and full of enthusiasm when speaking of the center, its senior citizen clientele, and its future.

“I can’t express enough my enthusiasm and excitement to make new friends and get more people involved in the nutrition center,” she said. “When I first walked in, everyone hit the floor running, especially Josie Madrid, who I can’t wait to work with more. The interactions on my first day were positive. I couldn’t wait to introduce myself to the people as well as wait for feedback.”

The position, the new director said, has been one that she had wanted even before it was filled by Shanna Elmore, who was hired to the position before Meeks and resigned shortly after beginning her employment.

A stint as a volunteer in the Meals on Wheels program, she said, initiated her interest in working for the center.

“Last year, I volunteered with a friend helping deliver Meals on Wheels and I enjoyed the interactions with the seniors as well as contributing and helping the people of the city,” she said of her time volunteering. “When the position became available again, I was excited to be a candidate.”

Though Meeks, a 2002 graduate from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, wants to improve the quality of the food, she also looks forward to expanding the programs and increasing social interactions among the city’s senior citizens.

“I plan to initially focus on the food and follow the infrastructure that’s been set in place,” Meeks said. “What I want is to speak with the seniors to find out what they want and expect. And I look forward to using my experience in professional restaurant environments, as well as my culinary degree, to aid our clients in getting what they want.”

She added that she also hopes to expand the social aspect of the center as well as get more community members involved. “I envision eventually having the lunch hour expanded into more social time. I look forward to speaking with people in town. There’s already been excitement and I can’t wait to get more citizens involved as volunteers in whatever capacity we can find or create.”

For now, Meeks will continue to speak with the center’s clientele and hope to bring the center back to its glory days.

“I spent much of my first day talking to the seniors and listening to what their preferences are for the set menu and I listened to their memories as far as what the nutrition center once was,” she said. “I’ve only been here one day, and I can’t predict the outcome, but I can guarantee there will be a focus on moving onward in capacities in which we are capable. The program is extremely important. It definitely enable our seniors access to both nutritious meals and social interactions. We’ll work hard to increase the number of clients, expand activities, and get people excited about the food.”

Madrid, who recently retired from Genevieve’s Beauty Salon as a beauty operator after 43 years, has already seen improvement in the month she’s been at the center, beginning under the supervision of Elmore, and she expects the same or more from Meeks.

“I loved working with Shanna, and now I’m enjoying my time with Callie,” said Madrid. “She really is a chef, she’s wonderful. It’s been getting better and better. Everybody noticed the difference. It’s really a good, nice change. I’m sure more people will start coming.”

Senior citizens may apply for participation in the program at the Nutrition Center at the Marfa Activity Center during normal business hours.

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