Neighbourhood Link connects seniors with community

Lottie Hainey and Madeleine Mariano enjoy Neighbourhood Link's annual Christmas dinner, December 6. PHOTO: Lara O'Keefe

Continuing an annual tradition, the caseworkers at Neighbourhood Link hosted their traditional Christmas dinner for isolated seniors on December 6.

The scent of freshly cooked turkey lingered in the air as more than 50 seniors came through to enjoy the delicious, home cooked meals prepared by the team at Neighbourhood Link and get into the holiday spirit alongside their peers.

The senior services department caseworkers have been running the event for more than 25 years “and [the seniors] look forward to this all year,” said Margaux Sommen, assessment and outreach worker with Neighbourhood Link.

The event focuses on bringing seniors together so they can enjoy home cooked food and friends that are normally difficult to access from their own home due, in large part, to mobility issues. Neighbourhood Link overcomes these issues by arranging transportation to and from the dinner and ensuring staff and student volunteers are on hand to greet the guests as soon as they arrive and socialize with them throughout the dinner.

“It’s for clients that are in their homes and don’t have family or get out,” explained Robin Miller, intake worker. “So this way we bring them here to have a little luncheon and some social time and hopefully they get into a little bit of the Christmas spirit.”

Seniors Lottie Hainey and Madeleine Mariano sipped eggnog while awaiting their meals, saying they weren’t sure which part of it they would enjoy the most but they were eager to dig in.

Miller and Sommen said that the first course included turkey, mashed potatoes, turnip, carrots, brussels sprouts, gravy, cranberry sauce and rolls. If the seniors had any room left after the first course, they could enjoy homemade applesauce, and cake with raisins and devonshire cream along with a cherry on top.

When asked about the fan favourites, Miller said “they love gravy on everything. Even vegetables, they want the gravy. They like the turkey, too.”

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