Letter to Editor: Closing Magnolia Senior Center Goes Against the Will of the Voters

South San Francisco, CA   May 21, 2020 by Cynthia Marcopulos, SSF Resident

The Magnolia Senior Center has been serving our community for well over forty years.  Learning of its closure is very distressing as we, the residents, specifically voted for Measure W which included “programs for seniors and the disabled.”  This closure is going against the Will of the Voters.


Most importantly, the Magnolia Senior Center provides a refuge for those who have needed their exceptional services, as well as providing a community for the seniors who may find themselves alone, abandoned and frail.  The exceptional staff and the outstanding programs and services provide a caring compassionate atmosphere assuring the seniors of a sense of stability and normalcy in the life-changing challenges they experience in their twilight years.


The Magnolia Senior Center has been a beacon* of hope for many of our aged community.  As a city progresses into the future, it should not neglect nor abandon those who were the foundation of this city.


Please contact the City Council immediately as they are planning to vote on the future of the Magnolia Senior Center very soon.
The Council hotline number is 650-829-4670
The Council e-mail contacts are as follows:
The individual email addresses for the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Council members:
Mayor Rich Garbarino rich.garbarino@ssf.net
Vice Mayor Mark Addiego mark.addiego@ssf.net
Council Members:
Karyl Matsumoto karyl.matsumoto@ssf.net
Mark Nagales mark.nagles@ssf.net
Flor Nicolas flor.nicolas@ssf.net



EDIT UPDATE May 23, 2020 12:30pm

Thank you to Ms Marcopulos for sharing the response from City Assistant Manager Sharon Ranals:


From: “Ranals, Sharon” <Sharon.Ranals@ssf.net>
Date: May 21, 2020 at 4:39:18 PM PDT
To: “CM’xxxxx'” <cm>
Cc: All Council <Council@ssf.net>, “Cullinan, Kelli” <Kelli.Cullinan@ssf.net>
Subject: RE: Magnolia Senior Center – resident input


Dear Cynthia:


Thank you for taking the time to communicate your concerns about possible cancellation of senior programs. There is a rumor circulating on social media and between some of the seniors who utilize the Magnolia Senior Center and the Adult Day Care program which I would like to dispel. The programs that operate out of Magnolia Center are currently closed due to the County Health Officer’s Shelter in Place Order. The building and group programs that operate out of this facility cannot reopen until the Shelter in Place Order is amended to permit group activities for seniors, who as we know are at higher risk for serious outcomes if they contract Covid-19, and must be protected. There is no plan to permanently close Magnolia Center or terminate programs for seniors, or to repurpose the building for some other use. However, any savings that can be captured during the closure will be identified and put toward balancing the budget.

When the Order is lifted, the City intends to restore senior programming at Magnolia. In the meantime, Senior Center staff have been working very hard to continue to safely provide services to our seniors. These efforts include making daily telephone welfare checks and answering phone and email inquiries; creating a printed and online Senior Newsletter which identifies many useful resources; creating and delivering activity kits; and pivoting from regular programming toward addressing food insecurity issues, including making food deliveries to qualifying home-bound seniors in need. Staff are also working with the County to modify operations, such as working with smaller groups and utilizing strict social distancing protocols, to be prepared to provide safe programs as the Shelter in Place is relaxed. I encourage residents who would like more information about any of the services mentioned to call Kelli Jo Cullinan, the Senior Supervisor, at 650-829-3822.


Thank you again for contacting the City, and we hope that you and your family stay well.





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