April 17, 2014 By Kelly Petty
Richland County celebrated older residents April 16 at its 26th annual Senior Citizens Healthcare Fun Day.
Seawell’s banquet hall was filled with hundreds of seniors, as well as volunteers from county and city offices who came together to give thanks.
“It’s about giving back,” said former County Councilwoman Bernice Scott.
Scott launched the event in 1989 when she represented District 10, which covers the Lower Richland area. She specifically wanted to target the seniors in the area who often live on fixed incomes and lack access to resources.
“I wanted to do something to give back to the community,” Scott said. “Of all the things we can do, we serve.”
In the spirit of service, county staff, Richland County Sheriff’s deputies and Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins along with some firefighters rolled up their sleeves and served lunch to guests.
The event also included prize money and gifts for several contests, including best hat and lowest blood pressure. Each senior also went home with a large bag of vegetables including cabbage, carrots, potatoes and green onions donated from the local farmers market and Harvest Hope.
Agencies, including the county Treasurer’s Office and the Voter Registration Office, provided information and answered questions. Other providers represented the hospitality and medical industries.
One healthcare service provider, First Choice VIP Care, is a South Carolina-based company that offers low-income seniors who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid additional coverage for routine medical care.
“It’s a service that without extra benefits, they won’t afford eyeglasses, they wouldn’t be able to go to the dentist,” said Jeffrey Johnson, an AmeriHealth Medicare sales agent. “They really need it.”
Speakers included County Councilman Kelvin Washington and several political candidates including state Rep. Bakari Sellers, who is running for state lieutenant governor, and County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tim Scott.