Seniors find joy at Christmas
The holiday season is a difficult time for many seniors throughout the Ozarks. Too often they spend the season alone because they do not have family to celebrate with.
Thankfully, many of Ozarks Food Harvest’s partnering senior centers planned special activities throughout the holidays to ensure their clients felt loved and appreciated.
During the Christmas season, the Alton Senior Center created about 30 Bags of Love for area homebound seniors.
Senior Center Administrator Sandy McCasland hand delivered the bags filled with groceries to each recipient.
“Christmas and Thanksgiving are our favorite time of the year because it allows us to give back to some of the seniors and provide things they don’t normally get,” McCasland shared.
The Christmas bags were donated by the Harps Food Store in Alton. The local grocer also donated $1,000 in gift cards for the senior center to purchase any needed items.
The staff took time making cookies, candy and bread for a dinner held at the senior center. “We wanted to let them know we care by holding a big Christmas dinner,” McCasland said. “This dinner had giveaways of the homemade goodies.”
McCasland received several thank you cards and phone calls from the homebound seniors. “They were very appreciative,” she shared. “These people have nothing and if it wasn’t for this program they wouldn’t have any extra during the holiday season.”
The Nixa Senior Center also found a way to show its clients they were loved this holiday season by holding a Christmas dinner that served 97 seniors.
For Sam, 70, this dinner meant everything because he does not have a family at home anymore. Shortly after the dinner he shared, “It wasn’t just a dinner, it was a fellowship with all the people, rejoicing the fact that we were together.”
Most of the seniors visit the senior center daily for lunch, but this Christmas dinner was special because it gave them a place to celebrate the holiday with their friends.
“A lot of them don’t have family anymore so it’s important for us to remember them,” Senior Center Administrator Melissa Andrews said. “They all had fun and Santa even paid us a visit.”