Area seniors to attend Christmas dinner, receive gift bags

On Thursday, Dec. 13, Wild Rose Cafe will host a Christmas dinner for local seniors. Following the meal, which will begin at 4:30 p.m., guests will receive a gift bag filled with food and other necessities donated by local organizations and residents. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Area seniors will receive a gift of kindness this holiday season thanks to the efforts of several local organizations and residents.

On Thursday, Dec. 13, seniors from the Big Rapids Housing Commission will be treated to a dinner at the Wild Rose Cafe, and will be able to take home a bag of food and other necessities donated by people in the community.

Elaine Sanford, with the Wild Rose Cafe, said the Christmas dinner — which will begin at 4:30 p.m. — is a good way to give back to the community and help others.

She added this will be the second year the restaurant has hosted the dinner for local seniors.

“When I see the smile on their faces, it’s all worth it,” Sanford said.

In addition to the holiday meal, the seniors in attendance will be able to take home a gift bag filled with goods such as canned fruit and vegetables, coffee and tea, kitchen towels, cleaning sponges, laundry detergent, pot holders and more.

Senior Networking Advocacy Group worked with several local organizations to host the Baskets of Love Drive in November where members collected various food items and home goods to fill bags which will be donated to seniors invited to attend a Christmas dinner at the Wild Rose Cafe. Enough goods were donated to fill 35 bags for seniors and another 35 bags to be donated to Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter in Big Rapids. (Courtesy photo)

These items were collected during the Baskets of Love Drive on Nov. 17 at Walmart in Big Rapids, an event organized by members of the Senior Networking Advocacy Group (SNAG).

Jen Moffit, local president for SNAG, said the group wanted to partner with the Wild Rose Cafe for its Christmas dinner and help the elderly by supplying them with a gift bag.

“We’re a see a need, fill a need group,” she said.

Moffit explained enough items were collected to fill 35 bags for the people attending the dinner, as well as an additional 35 bags to be donated to Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter in Big Rapids.

“If we can touch a senior’s life even one or two times a year, that makes a huge difference,” she said. “We need more caring for each other and being neighborly.”

To make the Baskets of Love Drive possible, SNAG partnered with several local organizations, including the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Hospice of Michigan, Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, Evergreen Terrace, Spectrum Homecare and Hospice, Airway Oxygen, Inc., Altercare of Big Rapids and B103.9 Radio.

“It’s been such a help that SNAG, RSVP and the other organizations have helped out with the bags,” Sanford said. “The people in our town are very loving.”

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