POCATELLO, Idaho (KXPI) - Their mission is to take care of our elderly. The seniors need socialization and a healthy meal. Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz dropped by the Pocatello Senior Activity Center to see the response, and to Pay It Forward. When you step inside the building around lunchtime, here is what you'll find, friendly faces enjoying daily lunch together. It is a time to socialize and take part in other fun activities. It's a big crowd that shows up each weekday.
"We have people who have been an expert in almost everything represented here," said Ernie Naftzger, the president of the board of directors. It takes a lot of help to serve the all the people.
"We really rely on our volunteers," said Naftzger. Kunz asked him why this place is so important.
"For this age group, they have many needs. One is nutrition particularly. Socialization. Most people that come here have a difficulty getting around. They don't have social networks other than the center and that's incredibly important for them to have a quality of life, is to have this kind of an atmosphere," said Naftzger. He added that the community really rallies around this segment of our local population. The support is overwhelming.
"It's amazingly good. That's evidenced by our volunteers and it's also evidenced by the diversity of funding that we get," said Naftzger.
Time to add to the diversity of funding. Time to Pay It Forward.
"Throughout their lives," began Naftzger, when a man and two women suddenly walked in and interrupted.
"Hey Ernie," said the man.
"Each individual is," continued Naftzger, talking with Kunz.
"Ernie? Are you Ernie?" asked the man.
"I am," replied Naftzger, turning now to face the man.
"I'm Jeremy Kartchner with Mountain America Credit Union," said the man, as he reached out to shake hands.
"Oh, Hi," said Naftzger.
"Nice to meet you. Sorry to interrupt the interview," said Kartchner.
"Oh," replied Naftzger.
"We're actually here to today to Pay It Forward for you," said Kartchner.
"Wow," replied Naftzger.
"We love what you do. We appreciate so much of what you do. So we wanted to make a cash donation to help Pay this Forward to you to continue making a difference in the people's lives. We have $500 for you."
"Oh, that's amazing," said Naftzger.
"Thank you for all that you do," said Kartchner.
"Thank you," said Naftzger.
"You're welcome. We appreciate it. It is such a wonderful thing that you do for these people. Happy to meet you and present this to you," said Kartchner.
"Well, thank you. I really appreciate it," said Naftzger.
"Yeah, absolutely. Yeah," said Kartchner.
"Thanks very much," said Naftzger.
"You're very welcome," said Kartchner.
"Take care. Wow," said Naftzger.
"I hope you were surprised," said Kartchner.
"I am. Totally. You know, you can tell. I'm shocked," said Naftzger.
"Good. I'm sorry to interrupt the interview. I will turn it back over to Todd," said Kartchner.
"Oh, he'll be alright with it. Thank you," said Naftzger.
"He can wait, right?" said Kartchner.
"Yup. Whooo!" said Naftzger, holding up the cash and waving it.
The senior activity center is located at 427 North 6th Avenue in Pocatello, behind the Department of Labor office. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is (208) 233-1212.
The center has been around for about 33 years. They have a lot of seniors, so any volunteers would be welcomed.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.