Bellingham Senior Center Holds Unique Valentine’s Day EventFeb 25, 2021 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
It was a Valentine’s Day celebration unlike any other. COVID had closed most of the usual ways that celebrations have been held in the past. So the Bellingham Senior Center decided to offer town seniors a Valentine’s Day Drive-by-Luncheon on February 12.
“The response was extraordinary,” said Senior Center Director Josie Dutil. “It was a perfect way to express our love for seniors.”
Nearly 200 meals from PJ’s Bar & Grill were served; meals included chicken marsala and baked fish. Seniors paid $5 each for the discounted meals, and the costs were subsidized further by the Council on Aging and Bellingham Elder Service Group.
“I loved being part of this experience,” explained Cindy McNulty, a member of the Bellingham Selectboard. She and fellow board member Kelly Hogan greeted guests with chocolate hearts from Pandolfi’s and goody bags. Hogan added, “I was thrilled to see my friends; it was fun to come and help.” Town Administrator Denis Fraine also helped to deliver meals to seniors as they waited in line.
Comments from the car windows included the following: “I love these drive-by meals…it’s a crazy, crazy world right now and I pray every day for an end to COVID;” “I’m so happy the Senior Center is doing this…it’s fabulous;” and “this is a wonderful idea from some really great people.”
Terri Graham, the Center’s program coordinator, said, “Themed drive-by-luncheons are a huge hit among senior communities. It is a great social event that brings everyone together in a safe, socially distant outdoor setting. Not only does it benefit those attending, but also those volunteering.”
Graham offered special thanks to two volunteers: “Linda Trudeau, who has worked on drive-by lunches since day one, and Eva Gamache, who handled the decorating and goody bags for today’s event.” Many more volunteers work tirelessly in support of the local senior community.Handing out red roses at the event was State Representative Mike Soter. “Let’s hope this is one of the last holidays we celebrate without being together in person. Maybe by Easter we can gather again.”
And the recently elected Sheriff for Norfolk County, Patrick McDermott, spent more than an hour at the event greeting seniors and singing to them as they waited for their meals.Meals were served from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. A one-hour Zoom concert followed, which seniors could watch from home, and then more meals were served from 1:30 to 2:30 PM.
story & photo by Dave Dunbar, Contributing Writer