PARADISE — Annie Pollock is a retired insurance agent. She has two Tennessee Walker horses she loves to ride. She likes to cook, organizes fundraisers, and is an apartment manager.
Pollock, 59, is also president of the Ridge Area Coalition of Seniors. She thinks the Paradise Ridge Senior Center, operated by the coalition, is an important aspect of life on the ridge.
She had already served as secretary of the coalition for three years. “The center is the hub of Paradise,” she said. “Everything here is for everyone, not just the elderly. Anyone one can rent it.”
But it is seniors who use the center on a daily basis. They are the ones who maintain friendships and interests there.
“It”s a great place. Seniors often bring their adult children for lunch,” she said of the noon meals that are offered on weekdays to older people.
The center at 877 Nunneley Road offers everything for seniors from seminars on health concerns to programs on nutrition and driver safety. There are services ranging from tax assistance, blood pressure check and legal counseling to health insurance counseling and veterans services.
On any given week day, seniors come to the center for exercise programs, games and book clubs, and lunch.
Barbara Allen, executive director at the center, shared figures revealing the need for it. “The number of seniors who use the center varies, but on average, it”s between 400 and 600 a week,” she said.
The center receives no federal, state, or county funding. It is supported by Paradise Senior Center Thrift Shop, membership fees, donations and the rental of rooms.
As is true with most nonprofits, the coalition is always looking for money to keep the center afloat. Pollock has a few ideas to help.
The third annual Murder Mystery Dinner will take place Sept. 25. “It”s really my thing,” she said. “I started it and it”s the major fundraiser for the center. I”m also the caterer for the dinner. I do all the cooking for 200 people. And I love it.”
She has another fundraiser planned for Aug. 20 at the center. “It will be an unclaimed clothing sale. I”m working with three dry cleaners, and they are generously contributing all their unclaimed clothing, draperies and comforters. Each item will cost $7. Everything will be cleaned and pressed, and a lot of have designer labels.”
Pollock thinks the event will be a winner, in terms of the money it will bring in and the number of people who show up.
She said she also has been working on new paint for the center, and in the longer view, new floors.
Pollock explained the coalition owns the senior center building, but the property is owned by Paradise Performing Arts Center. “We pay rent, and we”re trying to purchase the property,” she said.
Besides her position as coalition president, Pollock volunteers in other ways. Her husband, Arthur Pollock, is a Rotarian. “He volunteers a lot and since I met him, I do all kinds of volunteering, too.”
The couple volunteers with Alliance for Smiles, a nonprofit organization founded by Rotary Club of San Francisco in 2004. It provides surgery for children born with cleft lip and palate in Third World countries.
Between them, the Pollocks have volunteered for Alliance for Smiles in Peru, China, Venezuela and Africa.
“It is most worthwhile. They”ll do surgery on 125 children in two weeks. It can take from 10 minutes to an hour or two,” said Pollock. “I think the most rewarding was volunteering in Bangladesh and Africa. They are really the poorest of the poor.”
Pollock likes to cook. “My husband and I entertain a lot. He says I”m a good cook,” she smiled. But she does more than entertain with her culinary skills. Twice a week, she makes meals for an older couple.
Before she retired, Pollock sold insurance in Redwood City. She also has been a senior advisor, a state-certified position where she counseled seniors about insurance and Medicare.
The Pollocks, married 15 years, moved to the ridge from the Bay Area eight years ago, when they had one horse.
“It was my dream to have horses on my property,” she said. “And now we have two horses on 10 acres. Tennessee Walkers are the Cadillac of horses. They have the smoothest gait — you can ride them for five to 10 hours, but it doesn”t feel like it.”
Together, she and her husband have three sons and they are grandparents.
Staff writer Mary Nugent can be reached at 896-7764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What”s ahead at the center
Two major fundraisers are planned at Paradise Ridge Senior Center, 775 Nunneley Road.
* Aug. 20, sale of clothing, bedding and drapes donated by three dry cleaners.
* Sept. 25, third annual Murder Mystery Dinner. Hawaiian theme, catered meal.
Call 877-1333, visit www.ParadiseRidgeSeniorCenter.org.