Seniors in the community were treated to a Christmas dinner with all the fixings care of Community Services.
There were two turkey dinners with all the trimmings. One on Dec. 2 that saw 40 seniors turn out and on Dec. 9 that saw 50 seniors.
The dinners were thrown for seniors in the party bus program or seniors activity program run through the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services.
Food was donated by the Friends In Need Food Bank and in turn donations were collected at both dinners to give back to the food bank.
They cooked eight turkeys, 12 boxes of stuffing and around 14 pounds of potatoes per dinner. They also had brussel sprouts and carrots and pies and cookies for dessert along with punch.
Santa Claus, played by former Maple Ridge mayor Ernie Daykin, attended both dinners and handed out gift bags to all attendees that included hand-made scarves knitted all-year-long by Mary Tanco.
Rena Mazor directed a sing-a-long and made up the song sheets for the Dec. 9 dinner.
“It was a great opportunity to bring seniors out in our program, some who may not have a Christmas dinner, that may be their only Christmas dinner, as well as to socialize with others,” said Joanne Leginus, the director of administration and services with Community Services, whose idea it was to have the dinners.
“Just the smiles on their faces. It was just a huge success,” said Leginus.
Sandra Salvador, seniors activity program coordinator with Community Services, explained that the program was started to eliminate barriers for seniors who want to socialize.
“We provide free transportation, the outings have no cost and usually involve a meal together. The transportation is door-to-door. The drivers are volunteer drivers,” said Salvador.
The program has only been around for a year and a half and this is the group’s second Christmas together. Salvador said that it felt more like being around family this year because everyone knew each other’s names and there is a sense of community.
“They may not have family in town or they may be estranged from family or feeling isolated, alone, so this was an opportunity for them to have some fun with a group and have some socializing with some peers,” said Salvador.
The group is looking for more volunteers.
“When we don’t have a larger bus to use we will use a couple of vans as well as volunteer drivers to bring seniors on the outings,” explained Leginus.
“So volunteers we will subsidize with an honorarium for mileage as well as they can join in with the group and have lunch and socialize with everyone,” she added.
Anyone interested can contact Salvador at firstname.lastname@example.org.