Since its inception in 1972, the Baldwinsville Rotary Club's annual senior Christmas party has been a popular event for senior citizens.
"This is our way to thank our seniors for all they have done for our community over the years, and to share the joy of the season with them," said Rotarian Ann Smiley.
This year, 250 seniors attended the event held last Wednesday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, more than doubling the 115 served on Dec. 20, 1972. Participants enjoyed a holiday meal that included turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter, coffee and pumpkin pie. PEACE Inc. prepared the meals, while 35 volunteers served them.
Attendees at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church weren't the only ones to enjoy the holiday meal. Baldwinsville Rotarians Dave Horan and Marv Joslin delivered 14 hot meals to senior citizen residents of Conifer Village out of 34 total deliveries in Baldwinsville. The meal delivery is part of the annual event.
"Funding for the dinner comes from the many fundraisers that we do in Baldwinsville, in particular Seneca River Days and the Seneca River Duck Race," Smiley said. "Without the tremendous support of our community, we would not be able to do wonderful things such as this."
Upon arrival, every diner received a raffle ticket. After dinner, Santa visited and 26 Christmas stockings filled with goodies and essentials (for 13 men and 13 women) were raffled to seniors.
Rotarians Nikki Taylor and Club President Dawn Custer organized this year's event with the assistance of many Rotarians, the staff at Canton Woods Senior Center and day of assistance by Mark Murphy and many of his wonderful "elves" from Syracuse Home. Rotary exchange student Don t Bihari (pictured) also helped. Bihari, an 11th grader from Hungary, will finish out the school year at Baker High School.
"He is a delight to have as an exchange student this year and has been very helpful since his arrival, being at our booth for Oktoberfest, working in the kitchen at the spaghetti dinners, delivering dictionaries to third graders and now at the senior Christmas dinner," Smiley said.