Senior challenge nets $50k toward mortgage payoff

Weiser Activity Center for Seniors representatives deposited a $50,000 check into the center’s account at Zions Bank on Monday, taking a big step toward paying off their facility’s mortgage. Funds were raised through the Evelyn Stover Challenge, which aims to raise money for the payoff, which will give the center financial breathing room. From left, Norma Brown, Board Vice President Connie Lang, Steve Cooper, Treasurer Linda Smith, and President Karin Hoffer. Handling the transaction is Branch Manager Katie von Brethorst. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
 Weiser Activity Center for Seniors administrators and representatives made a momentous transaction at Zions Bank on Monday.
 Board President Karin Hoffer, Vice President Connie Lang, Treasurer Linda Smith, along with patrons Norma Brown and Steve Cooper, were on hand to deposit a $50,000 check, representing almost a quarter of the funds needed to pay off the center’s weighty $196,000 mortgage.
 “There it is, there it is!” proclaimed Smith, after Zions Bank Branch Manager Katie von Brethorst handed her a receipt for the deposit.
 “Weiser made this happen,” she said, pumping a fist and smiling. “It feels fantastic! I’ve been treasurer going on eight years and I just got the chills!”
 Incredibly, the money, consisting primarily of several $1,000 donations and a single $25,000 donation, was collected in less than two weeks after launching the Evelyn Stover Challenge.
 The initiative is the brainchild of Evelyn’s daughter, Norma Brown, who committed to donating $1,000, challenging the community at large to do the same until the mortgage is paid off.
 The late Evelyn Stover was a steadfast Weiser devotee, particularly supporting the senior center where she was involved for decades. She was one of a handful of community members who initially donated funds to have the original senior center torn down and a new facility built.
 Obviously, the challenge has seen tremendous success early on, a fact that has senior center administrators almost overwhelmed.
 “I can tell you this about our town, and this really warms my heart: anytime there is a need, you think, ‘My gosh, will people really step up and support this?’ and guess what? They are, and that is a wonderful, wonderful feeling,” Hoffer said. “And it’s thanks to this super neat lady (Brown) for coming up with the idea and getting the ball rolling.”
 Likewise instrumental has been Cooper, who has been pushing for something to be done about a mortgage that weighs down the center and could effectively bury it if revenues don’t pencil out every month.
 The Signal American, has already provided background, but it is worth once again revisiting the details, which gives context to the precarious financial situation the center faces:
 The center’s base income originates from federal dollars that trickle down to local Area Agencies on Aging. There are six of them in Idaho, which work to aid organizations supporting senior interests, including senior centers. Without the money, most senior centers could not afford to operate.
 Area Agencies on Aging operate under the federal Administration on Aging, which was created under the 1965 Older Americans Act. The Act was reauthorized in 2016, 2019, and again in 2020, effective through 2024. The money is allocated to organizations like Weiser’s senior center, which also receives funds from Washington County.
 “So, the government provides $4.25 per meal and then the county gives us about $6,000 a year, which is about $3 per meal,” said Hoffer, who worked for the Area Agency on Aging for 25 years. She noted that due to a high number of clientele lately, that the $6,000 is most likely diluted down closer to $2 per meal. Using the $3 figure, that comes to $7.25 per meal that is covered.
 It costs, however, $12 to provide each individual with a meal. The senior center relies on “suggested donations” to cover the remaining $4.75. The suggested donation per individual senior is $5 and $9 for non-seniors, which patrons slip into a little black donation box as they enter the building.
 The center also delivers meals to over 40 seniors throughout Weiser.
 Hoffer said she wants to keep the price down for seniors, many of whom are hard pressed to come up with the five dollars, but has been forced to raise prices in the past due to budget constraints.
 Adding to the budget-balancing challenge is the cost to keep the lights on and unforeseen maintenance issues, like the air conditioning unit that failed last summer, which cost $8,000 to repair, but only after Hoffer and Smith talked the contractor down in price. The real hamstring, however, comes from the nearly $1,800 monthly mortgage on the building, which was constructed in 2010. 
 “We owe $192,566.10 and our payoff was $195,953, so we’ve just been paying interest,” Smith said in a previous interview. “The total amount of payments on this loan was $461,073.60. We are not making any ground.”
 Cooper said it is crucial to keep the Challenge moving forward.
 “We are going to make it; it won’t happen overnight, but it’s going to happen,” he said. “We just need to keep this going and keep this challenge moving forward.”
Quilt Raffle:
 Though $1,000 donations are the target, senior center administrators say they happily and humbly accept any level of donation and that various other fundraisers have contributed to the facility’s ability to remain open. One of those fundraisers includes a quilt that will be raffled off on Dec. 16, during the Saturday breakfast.
 “We have a quilt donated by Barb Goff; she does quilts and every once in a while, she does one for us to raffle off and the one we are currently raffling off is hanging up down at the senior center right now,” Hoffer said. “It has an elk on it, and it’s amazing, so we are going to raffle it off and we are selling tickets for $5 apiece. We are going to be offering those tickets, particularly at our breakfast this Saturday (Dec. 2). I’ll have a table set up so we can sell tickets.”
 For more information, call Karin Hoffer at (208) 550-1452, email to, or stop by the center at 115 E. Main St.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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