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Fri, Jan. 24

A Helping Hand: Cottonwood Main Stage comes to rescue of Verde Valley Senior Center Meals on Wheels

Main Stage owner/manager Rebecca Riffel with Arthur Patrick, a chef with the Verde Valley Senior Center. VVN/Bill Helm

Main Stage owner/manager Rebecca Riffel with Arthur Patrick, a chef with the Verde Valley Senior Center. VVN/Bill Helm

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Verde Valley Senior Center volunteer Angel Pimpo packages lunches for the center’s Meals on Wheels program. Through early-June the senior center will prepare the delivery lunches out of the kitchen at Cottonwood’s Main Stage. VVN/Bill Helm

COTTONWOOD – Sunday, April 15, Elaine Bremner discovered that the Verde Valley Senior Center’s bottom floor – which includes the kitchen – had flooded.

Five days each week, the center feeds the hungry at lunchtime both on site and through its Meals on Wheels program. Though in-house lunches have been suspended until repairs are complete, the Meals on Wheels program has not missed a meal, Bremner said.

Thanks to Cottonwood’s Main Stage music venue and bar.

“They have a kitchen that wasn’t in use,” Bremner said. “And these people do a lot of good things for the community.”

Until the Verde Valley Senior Center is “up and running again,” about early-June Bremner estimated, Meals on Wheels will operate out of the Main Stage kitchen.

Amazing opportunity

Six years ago, Don and Eileen Riffel and their daughter, Rebecca Riffel, opened Main Stage at the corner of Main Street and Mingus Avenue in what was once a church.

Rebecca Riffel said she has known Bremner “at least four or five years now.”

Through Bingo and other activities, Main Stage has contributed “over $10,000 in fundraisers over the years” to the Verde Valley Senior Center.

“We have an amazing opportunity to help,” Riffel said. “People want to help.”

Arthur Patrick, a chef at the Verde Valley Senior Center, said he appreciates that the Riffels made their kitchen available while the senior center is repaired.

“It’s awesome that they did this,” Patrick said.

Quality remains ‘the same’

Though menus will vary during the transition, Bremner said that “the quality will remain the same.”

“Our mission is to make sure that you do not go without food, and we have taken every step available to us to make sure that the meals go through,” Bremner said.

According to Bremner, “roughly 70%” of people the center delivers lunches to cannot afford to pay a dollar, much less the suggested $5 donation.

To volunteer with the Verde Valley Senior Center, or for more information, call 928-634-5450.

For more information about Main Stage, call 928-202-3460.

“A lot of people depend on these meals,” Sutherland Bremner said. “I really appreciate that Main Stage has made their kitchen available to us.”

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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