Senior Bulletin Board

Thanksgiving is next week, and all are invited to a traditional turkey dinner to be served at St. Paul's Catholic Church on Bonnet Street between 1:00 and 3:00 on Thursday. No reservations needed, no charge — come with your family, meet some friends there, or go alone. It has been great in years past and I have no reason to doubt that it will be anything but great again this year.

Some of us have already had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner — turkey and stuffing, gravy, sunshine potatoes (regular mashed potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes), cranberry sauce, green beans, dessert (sweet potato pie? With a strawberry!) with cider and, later, coffee. All served to you at a long table. So, given that the table is set with full place settings and then is cleared after the meal, what more could you ask? All for a suggested "donation" of $3.50.

How does it happen that a group of seniors are sitting down to lunch twice a week at the Library? You may have heard, or read, that the Senior Meals offered at the Manchester Town Hall were being discontinued as of October 31. The announcement came as a surprise to the Manchester kitchen staff, volunteers and the seniors themselves. The suggestion that the seniors travel to the Arlington Meal Site (at Bailey Hall, within the East Arlington Federated Church) was not well received — even after there was a suggestion that the services of the Green Mountain Express shuttle bus could transport seniors to Arlington at lunchtime, and then back to the Manchester Town Offices where their cars would be waiting. But, it seemed like a "done deal."

The seniors were not happy, but within a few days there was another surprise announcement — this time that the meals program would be moving to a new home at the Manchester Community Library. The outcome? Meals, as described above, are brought up to Manchester from the Bennington kitchen and served to Seniors in the area opposite the Library's coffee/snack service area. The table is set with full place settings and all of the things that you would expect to see at a family dinner. Hot lunches are low-salt, low-sodium, approved by a dietician from the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging, and generally follow the Meals on Wheels menu as published in the Journal and elsewhere. Because the program relies to great extent on donated items, there is sometimes an adjustment to these menus.

If you decide to give it a try, and why wouldn't you, you need to call in a reservation by 3 p.m. the previous day — that would be by Monday or Wednesday for the Tuesday or Thursday lunch (for reservations, call 802-442-8012, as there is no longer a phone at the Manchester kitchen where someone can take your reservation). If you have any special dietary requirements, you can talk with the Meals on Wheels staff when you call.

The program relies, to some extent, on donated food items, but it also needs volunteers to help with the service. You can call the Executive Director, Ilsa Svoboda, at the same number to talk about what you might be able to do.

Another sad change; by the time you read this, the once-a-month lunch at the Wilson House in East Dorset will have served their last meal. Don't forget the Northshire Seniors soup and sandwich lunch on Monday, Nov. 20.


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