By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
After nine months of being shuttered, the Betty Ehart Senior Center’s kitchen is back in business. Not only that, but it is looking better than ever.
Besides improvements to its interior such as duct work, electric and plumbing, the kitchen received other upgrades as well including a new range hood, stove, ovens, fryer and walk-in freezer.
As Betty Ehart Senior Center Chef Stephen Jakob put it, “anything that is shiny” is new.
The project lasted nine months and cost $450,000 of which $100,049 came from a grant, Los Alamos County Project Manager Anthony Strain said.
According to Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization Executive Director Jacci Gruninger, the final product was worth the wait.
“It was a long time that we couldn’t let our members have what we call congregate meals,” she said.
Gruninger said in the interim Jakob and Kitchen Assistant Keith Haynes made all meals for the Los Alamos and White Rock senior center members from the kitchen in the White Rock Senior Activity Center. This totals 175 lunches a day, she said.
The grand re-opening of the Betty Ehart Senior Center, held Monday, drew a large crowd to celebrate the return of in-person lunches in Los Alamos. Gruninger said 75 people showed up to eat.
“It was great to see people reconnect with each other and people who they hadn’t seen since before COVID,” she said. “Many just stayed after lunch to hang out.”
Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. To eat a lunch, call either the Betty Ehart Senior Center at 505.662.8920 or the White Rock Senior Center at 505.672.2034 by 9 a.m. to reserve a meal or fill out the form provided here. A $5 contribution is suggested but no one eligible will be turned away. Meals are served to those who are age 60 or older and live in Los Alamos County.
Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Director Ryn Hermann, left, along with Chamber Member Services Manager Sam McRae, far right, hold the ceremonial red ribbon for LARSO Executive Director Jacci Grunninger, center, to snip and officially open the newly renovated kitchen at Betty Ehart Senior Center. The re-opening ceremony was held Monday afternoon. Other attendees included Los Alamos County Council Chair Denise Derkacs, second from right. Courtesy/LARSO
Betty Ehart Senior Center Kitchen Assistant Keith Haynes utilizes one of the new ovens in the kitchen for Tuesday’s lunch. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
The newly renovated kitchen includes a new range hood, ovens and stove. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
A scene from the celebration of the kitchen reopening at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Courtesy/LARSO