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LETTER: Terrace’s Seniors Corner provides a valuable service to seniors

The thrift shop supports the elderly, addresses community needs and challenges misconceptions
Gary Mills studies a puzzle during a visit to the Seniors Corner in the Skeena Mall on Aug. 1. (Staff photo)

An open letter to The Skeena Mall:

After having read a letter in the July 13, 2023 ‘Mail Bag’ section of The Terrace Standard by Donna Snow Stradesk about the Seniors Corner, I was truly incensed. Yesterday, while running errands, I decided to pop in to see what was what.

I saw a unit that had been empty for a decade being used to help our elderly and also bringing foot traffic into the mall. In this unit of haphazard walls, chipping floors, and makeshift door everything has been donated, including time as it is being run by volunteers. The group running this enterprise is not-for-profit, and all sales are by donation.

The services fill the often unheard and unheeded wants and needs of seniors. As a group, seniors are the ones that paved the way for the rest of society. They built what we have with their backs and knowledge. Without them, their work and sacrifice, life would look a lot different for most people.

They are our foundation and a living repository of expertise and wisdom. They have structured and paid into society. They should be cared for and revered. Yet, their pensions are woefully inadequate and we often ignore their contributions and needs. They are the forgotten precursors that trailblazed the way for everyone and everything that came after.

To harass those trying to correct these oversights is just plain not okay. To use their being a thrift shop as a stance to bully them is unconscionable.

The thrift shop aspect makes available important/usable items at low-to-no charge to over-extended pensioners and keeps many items out of landfills.

As a corollary benefit it helps other marginalized communities in the same manner, brings in foot traffic to the mall in general, and in the end when there is an over-abundance the excess is passed on to other helper agencies (e.g., The Free Store, The Salvation Army).

The Seniors Corner provides also information and provides a gathering place.

While I was there a person came in asking about income tax information and how to rectify an issue. Useful information was given. Seniors can socialize without the need to buy anything, and is on most people’s errand route.

Mall management has also expressed concerns that the Seniors Corner does not cater to only seniors. All traffic through the mall benefits all stores in the mall. Expecting seniors to leave their grandchildren at the door or barring people under a certain age is non-inclusive and discriminatory; not to mention just silly.

We don’t say that only athletes may enter the sports store, do we?

Unless we depart this earth early, every single one of us will be a senior. It is my fervent hope that there will be a caring place such as the Seniors Corner for all of us when we get there.

Let’s help, not hinder, those that are present in the present and working for our elders now.

Juliana Batagelj,

Terrace, B.C.