As we take our first baby steps back to normalcy, the Active Lifestyle Centre (ALC) in Chatham is taking matters outdoors.
Linda Lucas, executive director of the ALC, said the centre is now open for breakfast on its patio on Mondays and Fridays between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., will feature farmers’ markets over the summer, and will be offering some new programs as soon as indoor gathering is allowed again.
All this on top of their Take Away Thursdays.
The patio breakfast option features simple fare – a couple of eggs, bacon or sausage, homefries, toast and coffee – for $8.
“We used to have a cafe five days a week. We had a patio last year as well,” Lucas said. “But we don’t want to absolutely compete with all the restaurants. Many restaurants are closed on Mondays.”
Lucas said the breakfast two days a week is in response to interest from area seniors.
“I am sure it is going to be huge, as they are all up early and looking for something to do,” she said.
Lucas said the first ALC Summer Farmers’ Market takes place June 26, with two more in July and another two in August.
The plan is to block off half the ALC parking lot to accommodate the 20-plus vendors.
About half the vendors will be selling food. The ALC will have booths for greeting cards, woodwork and cloth masks, all made by ALC members. The kitchen will be selling items as well, and a barbecue and breakfast will be offered.
“Our seniors all want to come to the centre, but we can’t host them inside,” Lucas said. “This is also a good way to showcase our goods and also support the community.”
On Thursdays, the ALC offers a couple of menu items for take away, and people can call ahead to order, and pick the meals up between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on meal days.
Lucas said advertising the meals in The Chatham Voice have been particularly effective.
“Ever since we’ve been advertising with (The Voice), we’ve doubled our sales,” she said.
Lucas said keeping things running at the ALC has been a challenge due to the pandemic.
“We have no membership this year. When we open up, we’ll just have a daily user fee,” she said. “We used to have 1,500 members.”
That will remain in effect for the rest of the year, Lucas said.
She added there will be additional programs installed when the ALC returns to hosting people indoors, including an in-class driver refresher course for older adults. The idea is to prepare people who may have temporarily had their licences revoked for health reasons to prepare for what Service Ontario will put them through.
“People can get stressed. They don’t know what to expect. We help prepare them,” Lucas said.