BALLINGER – Every Thursday is a special day for the seniors who get together for a weekly potluck lunch at the senior citizen center.

BALLINGER – Every Thursday is a special day for the seniors who get together for a weekly potluck lunch at the senior citizen center.

Each week, about two dozen senior citizens gather for the lunch. Most bring a dish, if they do not, they put money in the pot to help fund the event. But each and every one of the group, looks forward to Thursdays, for the good food, the fellowship and the swapping of news of old friends.

The group temporarily disbanded after the county stopped funding the senior meal program back in October. But after the county agreed to open the doors of the senior center on Thursdays, and allow them to use the facility at no charge, they reformed and started meeting regularly in January.

“We really appreciate Judge Barry Hilliard,” said Margarette Smith, one of three organizers including Sharon Harvell and Beth Doty. “He has really supported us on this.”

Harvell, is usually the one responsible for the food and for keeping up with the group’s finances. On this day, the menu included fried chicken, roast beef, Harvell’s cornbread salad, baked beans and two cakes prepared by the resident dessert maker Caroline Harris.

While current members may occasionally bring a guest, the membership consists of those who attended the senior meal program. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. each Thursday.

“Right now, we can only accommodate the ones who regularly visit,” Smith said.

But they always care for their own.

On this day, they sent member Merle Calhoun home with a plate for his wife, who is homebound.

“It’s there for her if she wants to eat,” Harvell said as she handed Calhoun a bag.

But it takes everyone pitching in, like Linda Parker who provides the plates, cups and silverware. Or Roy Rose, who brings his famous slow cooked pot roast from time to time.

“Next time I’m bringing beans,” Rose said as he left with his wife Jo Ann.

But in all, they look forward to the weekly gathering, which usually includes a group of quilters and others who stay and play Mahjong.

Before they leave, they always clean up.

“We leave it the way we found it,” Harvell said.

But everyone leaves satisfied too.

“This is best meal I’ve had in a month or two,” said Jack Jones as he left.