Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously spelled Elias’ last name. The story has been updated to correct the spelling.

Elias Vetter enjoys the recreational activities found inside the Burleigh County Senior Center.

“Wednesdays we play Bingo, Friday is a movie. It gets me out of the house,” Vetter said.

When asked about the secret of winning bingo, he says “luck.”

“It all depends on the cards you pick out. Sometimes you have bingo twice and sometimes not that many times. We used to have a lot of players and they’re coming back now,” Vetter said.

It’s the volunteers that help with running the activities, but the rise of COVID put a dent in the number of people signing up.

“The volunteer base that we had built up over a many numbers of years kind of were gone,” Burleigh County Senior Center Executive Director Renee Kipp said.

The center could use about 25 to 30 volunteers right now.

Nanc Skaret is a longtime volunteer and has been donating her time with the center since 2009.

“I make coffee, always help out at the snack bar, I organize and run the bridge group,” Skaret said.

She said serving others and happiness is what keeps bringing her back.

“The most rewarding job ever, you get to work with people, to help people,” Skaret said.

The center doesn’t just serve seniors inside of the center. In addition, they have a drive through meal pick up along with a home meal drop off service — all requiring volunteers.

“We had 18 routes and we expanded to 23 on the 3rd of January and we have about 323 people on home delivered meals,” Kipp said.

The center has just only 120 volunteers and is hoping to rebuild its volunteer base with more sign ups throughout the year.