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HAVE YOU WONDERED?: Come hear 'The Beatles Guy'

An army of volunteers worked to serve 100 seniors a meal on Christmas Day at the Milton Community Center. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

MILTON — Santa was focused on Milton Christmas Day and the 100 seniors who gathered to celebrate the holiday. Thanks to countless volunteers and businesses, the Milton Community Center made Christmas brighter for seniors who would normally be alone on the holiday.

“We have been hosting a Christmas Luncheon for seniors the past six years,” said Joe Paschal, Director of Senior Activities at the Milton Community Center. “Once again our community partners and volunteers pulled together to make this another happy and bright holiday for many seniors who would normally spend Christmas alone.”

Some of those who should be added to Santa’s “Nice List” include volunteers from the Blackwater Pyrates; the University of Florida West Florida Research and Education Center; UF Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences Extension Family Nutrition Program; Santa Rosa County Home Community Educators; and chef Bubba Drinkard.

This is the second year the event has had to depend on community support, which was provided from the GEO Group at Blackwater Correctional, McKenzie Motors, Santa Rosa Medical Center, Wind Creek Casinos, as well as Ellis Crane Works.

“This was a complete community effort that brought a great deal of happiness and joy to the faces of the seniors in attendance,” Paschal said. “They were able to gather for lunch, play some white elephant bingo, but most of all interact with people they can relate to instead of being alone on a holiday.

“Thanks to everyone involved, 100 seniors enjoyed a fantastic Christmas instead of sitting home alone this holiday.”

The hours put in to make this event started on Monday and the elves in the community worked tirelessly right up until lunchtime as they prepared ham, turkey, and all the trimmings for an outstanding meal, but the biggest gift for the seniors was something money and donations could not buy.

“Socialization is critical to a senior’s well-being especially around the holidays, not just Christmas,” RSVP of Santa Rosa County Director Faye Henry said. “Many times seniors will be home alone due to family being out of town, unable to come home or worse yet, all of their family or friends are no longer around.

“This event fills so many needs on so many levels, that losing it would be tragic.”

When the call went out for volunteers there were plenty in supply, especially from those who started preparing the meal for the Christmas holiday, while also making sure they took care of their own families.

“As soon as I mentioned the need, I saw a tremendous response from the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition program staff, the Santa Rosa County HCE ladies, and members of the Blackwater Pyrates,” said Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent Ginny Hinton. “We are a part of Milton and Santa Rosa County. We believe in giving back to the community! This is one way we can do our part.”

For more information about Senior Program at the Milton Community Center and its offerings, visit www.miltonfl.org/205/Senior-Citizens-Program or @SeniorsinMilton on Facebook.

This article originally appeared on Santa Rosa Press Gazette: HAVE YOU WONDERED?: Come hear 'The Beatles Guy'


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