Senior Citizens Christmas Party cancelled this year

I would like the senior citizens of Randolph and surrounding counties to know that it has been a privilege to provide the Senior Citizens Christmas Party for the last 40-plus years. The dinners started in the 1970s at the Elkins YMCA, then to the National Guard Armory and then on to Orchard Hall in Elkins.

This event was considered a Happy Birthday Jesus Party, a gift from our family and friends to you. This dinner has included candy making, cooking and baking, decorating, serving, transporting, entertaining and a yuletide visit from Santa for up to 600 senior citizens.

There has always been enough food provided for 1,200 meals so the senior citizens may feel free to ask for seconds or to take a carryout dinner home to eat later. This entire meal has been donated by the community which made it possible to have a free holiday banquet for you. This event could not have been made possible without the help from donations by merchants, businesses, sororities, clubs, students, drivers, individuals, volunteers and parking attendants from Division of Highways.

The preparation for this dinner begins in mid-October. When advertised volunteers don’t have to be called, they just know to show up, because we always need help. Volunteers have helped make 350 pounds of peanut butter and chocolate fudge to be taken home by the seniors at the end of the event.

The 4-H clubs and several other organizations along with individuals have made cookies to accompany the candy to be taken home. This is just an extra little goody bag from all of us. The students from the Elkins Mountain School and Tygarts Valley High School help prepare these goody bags, serve the meal and then clean-up. The Elkins Mountain School boys look forward to helping us set up this event and rearrange it afterwards.

There were 15-20 pound turkeys donated and then prepared at Huttonsville Correctional Center. The workers in the kitchen not only baked the turkeys, they de-skinned and de-boned them. The Steer Steakhouse pre-pattied and pre-cooked 185 pounds of beef ordered through the Steer. The rest of the major cooking is prepared at Orchard Hall. We prepared 42 gallons of green beans, 75 pounds of carrots, two bushels of apples and 10 pounds of raisins, to make a salad. Plenty of mashed potatoes were made, you can ask Sharron Reckart, and dinner rolls were served also. Volunteers prepare 25 gallons of punch and 13 pounds of coffee, JoAnn Pastine and her help can attest to that. Happy Birthday Jesus cake was also prepared by Huttonsville Correctional Center and served to all in attendance.

We feel that God has been good to us, and we wanted to share a special day of sharing and giving to our area seniors to reflect the true meaning of Christmas with a pageant “The Life of Christ.”

The dinner has only been canceled three times in the past 40 years. We are with heavy hearts to have to cancel the dinner this year. Family medical problems have forced the cancellation for this year’s annual Senior Citizens Christmas Party and Pageant sponsored by Jeanne Hart, Pam Hughes, Marsha Gardner, family and friends held at Orchard Hall in Elkins. Canceling the dinner was the hardest decision we had to make, but it is something we have to do.

We are grateful to anyone who has helped in any way in the past to make this an enjoyable day for everyone.

Thanks for your support in helping us make this dinner a big success.

Jeanne Hart, Pam Hughes, Marsha Gardner,

family and friends