Shelburne Falls Senior Center sees high turnout for early Thanksgiving meal distribution

  • Activities Coordinator Dot Lyman and Director Amanda Joao of the Senior Center in Shelburne Falls distributed 80 turkey dinners on Tuesday afternoon. Staff photo/Mary Byrne

Staff Writer
Published: 11/11/2020 4:35:50 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Eighty local seniors were treated on Tuesday to an early Thanksgiving meal, courtesy of the Senior Center in Shelburne Falls.

“We’re doing what we can to be involved with everyone,” said Senior Center Director Amanda Joao. “A lot of clients look forward to just the few minutes they get to interact with us when they pick up the food.”

Tuesday’s Thanksgiving meal pick-up included a homemade turkey pot pie, vegetables and a pumpkin pie donated by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office TRIAD team, a partnership between law enforcement, community organizations and seniors that aims to support and protect the senior community.

“This Thanksgiving is the highest turnout we’ve had,” Joao said. “Usually, we have around 50.”

The turkey meals were paid for, in large part, through donations from past meals, as well as a $500 donation from the Senior Center Foundation.

The center, which serves the communities of Shelburne, Buckland and Ashfield, has been doing to-go meals twice per month since group meals were canceled in March. Additionally, on Wednesdays, LifePath sponsors meals between noon and 2 p.m. Advance registration is required for both meals.

“They’ve been a big hit since congregate meals have been interrupted indefinitely because of COVID,” Joao explained. “I think this is our best option to still see clients, get them fed and get them excited, but not have too much contact with them.”

Joao said the center has since opened for one-on-one programming, and seniors who wish to stop by to say hello or drop off something are welcome to do that as well.

“We’re moving a little slow,” she said. “But I think everyone is. It’s just exciting to have stuff in the newsletter for our elderly clients to look forward to, because a lot of them are isolated … and miss their routines.”

The center is also planning a holiday meal in December, which will include prime rib, roasted potatoes, green beans, tossed salad, a roll and a bag of Christmas cookies.

“We’re going to have some cookie bags we’re giving out as gifts for everyone that the staff will come together to make,” Joao said. “We have over 1,000 cookies to make, so it’s going to be a busy time.”

Joao said she hopes the upcoming holiday season can still be a positive one for people in the community.

“Traditionally, (the holidays) have been a time for everyone to get together ... and I know this year it’s going to be even more challenging,” she said. “We want clients to know their connection to us is still strong. Even if our doors aren’t 100 percent open to the public yet, we’re really looking out for them.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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