West Oakland Senior Center, A Disaster Shelter and More

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They Just Serve…

The Post News Group will be visiting churches, senior centers, and locations serving our communities around the Bay. So much community service relies on existing organizations and volunteers, and we want to recognize them so others can duplicate existing role models, and those in need will find help.
Our series begins this week with the West Oakland Senior Center, at 17th and Adeline Street, due to celebrate their 20th Anniversary next February. Founded when Aleta Cannon was the City Councilperson and The Honorable Elihu Harris was mayor, the center welcomes all who enter.
A City-designated disaster shelter currently seeking funding needed to replace the roof, make sure maintenance is up-to-date, and generally update everything inside and out, Advisory Board Chairperson Bobby Wilkerson said, “We want to be ready of disaster strikes.”

WOSC folks catch a rare moment of quiet before they rush off to serve. Left to right: Acting Directer Sharia Lewis, volunteer Larry Cowart, Advisory Board Chairperson Larry Wilkerson, and teacher Dr. Larry Moore. Photo by Sue Taylor.

With a 21-person Advisory Board, who volunteer at the center, and Acting Director Sharia Lewis’s great leadership, WOSC serves about a 1,000 people a month—hot lunches are served daily, classes are offered, and helpful information is available. The Center even has a program to assist folks with expunging a legal record.
Dr. Larry Moore, who offers the records expungement assistance, said, “We are here to help folks with whatever their needs may be.” A warm and inviting lobby welcomes anyone coming through the door, and groceries are always available for pick-up.
Staffed minimally by the Director, a full-time janitor, and a cook, the Center volunteers present classes, run workshops, offer guidance, and run the “New To Me” boutique, open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meeting space upstairs can be rented and a church offers services there ongoing.
Bobby Wilkerson, Advisory Board Chairperson, says, “We offer important classes, food support, and we have fun. We are also ready to serve the community if there is a disaster. We are a City-designated disaster shelter and are working with City personnel to replace our roof so rain does not leak on our computers. We are also working to replace some furnishings and ten computers and printers. We offer classes in computer technology.”
Volunteer Larry Cowart, a young man with abundant energy was walking through with Acting Director Sharia Lewis, and was delighted to meet and talk with teacher Dr. Larry Moore, Advisory Board Chairperson Wilkerson, and this reporter. The Center was filled with warmth, conversation, and laughter and clearly practices their motto that the place is one “Where Ability Is Ageless.”
For more information, call or visit the West Oakland Health Center: 1724 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94607, 510-238-7016.

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