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Annie Johnson Senior Center to celebrate 25th anniversary

The Annie Johnson Senior Center invites the residents of Citrus and south Marion counties to an open house celebrating the center's 25th anniversary. The open house will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The center is at 1991 W Test Court, Dunnellon.

Annie Johnson, who founded the elderly outreach program that services seniors in Citrus and south Marion counties, was a woman of grace and compassion. Sensing a need to help area senior citizens, Mrs. Johnson spearheaded a drive to fix up and clean up the old Second Bethel Baptist Church built in 1888. Once completed, the building became a center for senior citizens to meet and socialize. Before long, volunteers began to serve hot meals there.

Mrs. Johnson died in August 2000, but her legacy continues. Many are familiar with the Annie Johnson This and That Thrift Shop on U.S. 41 on the south side of Dunnellon. From this shop, profits provide the operational costs for the center. Donations, fundraisers and grants from the United Way are used to provide services to low-income clients to prevent utilities shut-off or rent or mortgage payments to prevent eviction.

As with many charities, currently the center is unable to provide many of these services due to limited donations. With the holidays coming the center is hoping the good people of Citrus and Marion counties will remember the needy who reside in our community. For information about the center or how to donate, call 489-8021.