Seniors welcomed back to annual picnic at South County Senior Center

  • South County Senior Center Director Christina Johnson said “it’s such a great feeling” to see the community returning to in-person events. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Local music group The Jazz Bones Octet performed for attendees of the South County Senior Center’s annual picnic on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Pat Misiun serves an attendee popcorn at the South County Senior Center’s annual picnic on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Seniors were able to mix and mingle for the first time in more than a year at the South County Senior Center’s annual picnic on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Frontier Regional School seventh-graders and their mother volunteered to serve food and drinks to attendees of the South County Senior Center’s annual picnic on Wednesday. Left to right: Alex, Gabby, Carrie and Zoey Duda. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/17/2021 4:00:57 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Seniors from the towns of Deerfield, Whately and Sunderland were able to reconnect on Wednesday as they gathered for their annual picnic once again.

The South County Senior Center had to cancel last year’s picnic because of the pandemic, and Senior Center Director Christina Johnson said the community coming back out is a great sign.

“It’s such a great feeling to see people out,” Johnson said. “I haven’t seen this many people here in two years.”

Smiles were common as seniors mixed and mingled for the first time in over a year.

There were no virus-related restrictions in place because the Senior Center waited until the state had lifted its restrictions first. Seniors were fed popcorn, hamburgers and hot dogs while they were treated to a performance from local music group The Jazz Bones Octet.

Johnson said she appreciates everyone’s help and patience in setting up the event, and she is happy to have everyone back at in-person events.

“It’s nice to see everyone talking and catching up,” Johnson said. “Everything I do is to take care of the seniors and make them smile.”

The South County TRIAD — a partnership of law enforcement, community organizers and seniors — also helped organize the event. Sharyn Paciorek, the organization’s president, said this was one of the first chances for many of the seniors to see each other again.

“It’s nice to see all these people,” Paciorek agreed. “They’re definitely ready to get out of what I called ‘lockdown’ and socialize.”

Paciorek also wanted to highlight the three Frontier Regional School seventh-graders — triplets Alex, Gabby and Zoey Duda — who were volunteering to help bring food and drinks out to the residents.

“That’s the kind of community we have,” Paciorek said, “lots of goodness.”

Mickey Clark, a resident of South Deerfield, said the picnic was a nice opportunity to do something outside. She said “being out with people” and the food were her two favorite aspects of the event.

“It’s good because I don’t get out much,” Clark said. “I really missed it.”

Fellow South Deerfield resident Merle Smith said he missed the picnic last year because socializing is such a big part of the event.

“I love coming to the Senior Center picnic,” he said. “It’s fun to talk to and meet people.”

Smith commended both Johnson and Sue Corey, the program coordinator, for their efforts in creating activities for the community.

“Sue and Christina are fantastic. They ought to be patted on the shoulder,” Smith said. “The food is always great.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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