Hands are busying, and the bantering goes back and forth.

“You have to put a bow in there.”

“I’m not a very good tie-er.”

“Let’s get an assembly line going.”

A small group at the Palmer Center gathers once a month for crafts. The other day, the job was simple: Turn the jars decorated with a fall theme into jars with a winter theme. Each got a small handful of Spanish moss, some craft-store snow, a sprig or two of evergreen and a narrow ribbon around the base. In a little more than half an hour, voila – 18 centerpieces for the Palmer Center dining room, where up to 100 people a day come for lunch.

In February it might be a valentine theme, and maybe it’s St. Patrick’s Day for March. Paulina Maliwat of Independence organizes the work, and it’ll be her job to figure that out.

This is one of the programs, in addition to lunch served on weekdays, that brings seniors to the Palmer Center, 218A N. Pleasant St.

“It’s like a second home,” Maliwat said.

“So it’s a good place to be,” she added. “You find something of worth, and belonging.”

Chuck Beyer of Independence echoed that idea. What brings him there?

“People. These things. Food. … Fellowship,” he said.

Willa Comer of Independence has been a regular since the Palmer Center opened and says she she assists wherever she can.

“I’m thankful that I’m able to help them,” she said.

It was Maliwat who came up with the design for the centerpieces, and that creativity has to have come from somewhere.

“My mother used to have a flower shop,” she said. “I guess I learned from there.”

Her advice is to stay active and stay involved.

“Do whatever you can do,” she said.