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Eastside Neighborhood Center is Like Family


Beatriz “Betty” Molina has been coming to Catholic Charities’ Eastside Neighborhood Center (ENC) for her daily lunch for more than 10 years. As one of the “regulars,” she has her favorite table with friends–seniors on fixed incomes who rely on the hot, nutritious meals as their main, and sometimes only, meal of the day.

Betty is a disabled senior who lives in a Section 8 community nearby. Every weekday morning, she gets dressed up for lunch and walks over to the Center. A proud mother of six and grandmother of eight, it’s hard to believe that this dainty lady once fought in WWII as one of the few women in the Philippine resistance guerilla army. She even has the photos to prove it.

Like many of the Seniors at ENC, Betty is an independent person who likes to stay active and engaged. At 89 years old, she is sharp as a tack. She loves spending time with her friends at the Center, and before arthritis severely disabled her, she even participated in the Filipino dancing every Thursday after lunch. These days, she enjoys playing Bingo a few times a week.

When Betty first came to the U.S., she volunteered at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County as a Teacher’s Aid in one of the CORAL after-school programs. Betty was as energetic as the kids she worked with, even though she was in her 70’s. Working with students was natural for her because she had already retired after a career as a school principal in the Philippines.

“I consider everyone at ENC as family, from the seniors to the staff and volunteers,” said Betty. “We eat together, we laugh together, and are there for each other. I feel blessed to live next to a Center that takes care of its community. Thank you, Catholic Charities, for being part of my family!”

Last year, more than 68,500 warm and nourishing meals were served to low-income seniors by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers at two locations–Eastside Neighborhood Center and John XXIII Multiservice Center in downtown San Jose. Low-income seniors can go to either location for hot lunches, socialization, and activities.

To learn more about the programs, please contact Milton Cardena, Program Director, Older Adult Services at mcardena@catholiccharitiesscc.org.