Robert Mason: A Dedicated Public Servant in Work and Retirement

Robert Mason. Judy Goddess/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

Robert Mason retired as regional services manager for the Veteran’s Administration on a Friday.

Three days later he took his talents to his church, Temple United Methodist. Some of his volunteer work involves administration. Two days a week, he supervises the food pantries.

On Wednesday afternoons, Mason receives groceries from the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank for the OMI food pantry, the third largest in the city. A team of 25 volunteers joins Mason in arranging the food for the 450 visitors who regularly visit the pantry.

The Food Bank makes a second delivery early Thursday morning for the senior food pantry sponsored by Catholic Charities.

“This line moves a little slower,” Mason said. “But by noon we will have served 250 seniors, packed bags for people with special needs, and brought food to the Lutheran Church of Our Savior down the street.” Mason is proud that they were “the first pantry to institute time slots” eliminating the long lines that had been the rule for pantries. “It makes it so much easier for families,” he said.

Now other pantries also rely on time slots. The work is tiring, Mason admitted, but we know that “volunteering is good for your health, it keeps you young. I know where I’m going, but I’m in no hurry to get there.”

For more information, call the OMI Senior Center at (415) 334-5550.

METCC Launches

On Nov. 14, the Merced Extension Triangle Community Connectors program held its first class, an Always Active exercise group for seniors 60 and older. The class meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 – 11 a.m. at the Golden Gate Church, located at 201 Head St.

This free program, funded through Supervisor Yee’s Participatory Budgeting initiative, is modeled on Cayuga Community Connectors.

Drop in or contact Kim Mayor for more information at

District 11 Dignity Fund Meeting

Shireen McSpadden, Department on Aging and Adult Services executive director, welcomed the audience at the District 11 community forum at Temple United Method Church.

“We’re holding community forums to reach as many people as possible,” McSpadden said.

“The forums help us know the strengths of our current system, what needs to be improved and what’s missing.”

Extensive outreach is one requirement of the voter-supported Dignity Fund, which increases and protects funding for services for seniors and adults with disabilities for 10 years into the future:

$38 million plus an additional $6 million for 2017-18, plus an additional $3 million for each of the next nine years.

Seven residents, members of two of the nine adult choirs supported by DAAS funding, eagerly testified to the importance of the choirs in their lives. One member even credited her recovery from a stroke to her participation in the choir.

Transportation led the list of what needs to be improved, followed by improved coverage of senior programs and services in local newspapers; more activities and classes; better access to information, such as how to get chairlifts installed in the home or how to protect oneself from scams; a pool of vetted handymen; evening and weekend activities for working seniors; internet access throughout the city; and more outreach.

You can add your thoughts on DAAS services by responding to the online survey at

The survey must be completed by Dec. 8.

Holiday Events

YMCA, 4080 Mission St. Friday, Dec. 8, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Bazaar with handmade baked goods and presents for the holidays. Contact Genny Pinzon at 415-452-7581, The YMCA is closed on Dec. 23 – Dec. 26.

Cayuga Community Connectors, Bethel Church, 2525 Alemany Blvd. Saturday, Dec. 2, 12 – 3 p.m. Singalong and potluck. Contact Patti Spaniak at (646) 409-7775 or

I.T. Bookman Center, 446 Randolph St. Monday, Dec. 11, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Christmas program features the Older Adult Choir, a presentation from Reigniting the Senior Spirit Workshop, line dancing, and performances by C-Note Children’s Band. Contact Joyce Watson at (415) 586-8020 or The I.T. Bookman Center is closed Dec. 22 – Jan. 2.

OMI Senior Center, 65 Beverly St. Thursday, Dec. 21, 12 – 1 p.m., Christmas lunch, followed by ballroom dancing, 1 – 3 p.m. Contact Tiffany Huynh at (415) 334-5550 or The Senior Center is closed on Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1.

Research Study San Francisco State University researchers seek participants for a paid study that Examines Gait and Mobility. This study examines walking patterns of people of different ages. Participants are asked to complete a questionnaire at home plus attend a two hour study session on campus. To qualify, you must be between 67 and 85 without major health programs, and able to walk unassisted. Participants will receive $50 for completing the study. To learn more call (628)400-2677 or email

Senior Spotlight columnist Judy Goddess can be reached at or (415) 759-1994.

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