Seniors enjoy another free lunch from Steel Lake Presbyterian

Once a month, the church will provide free lunch, aiding their mission to support seniors.

On June 12, the Steel Lake Presbyterian Church hosted a lunch for seniors at the Federal Way Community Center, and according to the Missions Pastor Colleen Chinen, they plan to continue this free lunch every month.

At the lunch, the church provided 60 boxed lunches from Panera Bread that included sandwiches, wraps and salads.

Chinen said she first became interested in supporting seniors when the city’s Senior Advisory Commission was founded. She said she started thinking about how the church could support seniors in Federal Way because there is already a lot of focus on helping families.

She said they started helping the Senior Advisory Commission at the Senior Health Fair in May. Chinen said they sponsored part of the event by printing all of the brochures passed out at the health fair. She said the church also sponsored the goodie bags that were given out.

Chinen said the sponsored lunch idea came about when she heard that the seniors also had a Korean lunch day and a Hispanic lunch day. So, she wanted to add another day once a month sponsored by Steel Lake Presbyterian Church.

Chinen said she spoke to Federal Way City Councilmember Susan Honda about the idea, and she was very enthusiastic about it. Subsequently, Chinen said she talked to David Schmidt, the city’s senior recreation coordinator, and he thought another day for senior lunch was a great idea.

Chinen said she was really happy with the lunch turnout. It was their first time hosting the lunch. Around 60 people attended, and she hopes more will continue to attend. Additionally, she said attendees were really grateful for the lunch. Moving forward, Chinen said she would like to expand the lunch to possibly bring speakers, and she also wants to hear what else the seniors would like.

Chinen said Federal Way has a smaller 60-plus population compared to other areas, but she said the national average is growing, and she sees Federal Way’s senior population growing, too. Because of this growing senior population, the seniors will need more support, whether it’s through services or through connecting seniors, she said.

“I was brought up to respect seniors, and my grandmother was a very important person in my life,” Chinen said. “She always taught me that you are respectful and that they have wisdom, and you need to lean in, listen and learn. So I was brought up that way as a child, and as I get older, I could see where seniors have so much to give but they are put aside.”

Chinen said that because of this, when a position opened at the church to work specifically on the mission of supporting seniors, she thought that she was called to it. She said it was surprising, but it’s been very energizing, and she loves what she does. She said her church is also very excited about this mission to support seniors.

“Our mission really is to connect, advocate, and support the aging community, their caregivers, and their families in Federal Way by partnering with local organizations in the city that support our mission,” Chinen said.

The Senior Advisory Commission meets the second Wednesday of the month at 2 p.m. at Federal Way City Hall. Learn more about the commission on its Facebook page.