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A friendly feast

Marquette Senior Center hosts Thanksgiving meal

A dessert awaits attendees of the Marquette Senior Center’s Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday. Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cranberries and more were served up at the feast. Much of the meal was donated by Econo Foods, organizers said, noting they were grateful for the donation.

MARQUETTE — With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the Marquette Senior Center held a Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday, giving area seniors a chance to gather for food, fun, friendship and festivities in advance of the holiday.

“An event like this is important for not only all people in our community to gather this time of year, but it’s particularly beneficial for older adults that may not have friends or family in the area,” Marquette Senior Services Manager Maureen McFadden said. “The Marquette Senior Center wants to make people feel welcome and create a space where they can celebrate their shared experiences. We also want to make sure that older adults in our area are getting the nutrition they deserve, so this event was a win-win.”

Attendees had a chance to enjoy all the classic Thanksgiving fixings, including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, dinner rolls, cranberries and deserts.

Before the meal, the Brookridge Music Scene from Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care in Marquette provided the gift of music, singing a variety of songs for attendees.

“We are very pleased to have them join us for this meal and share their talents with us,” McFadden said.

An autumn decoration at the Marquette Senior Center is pictured.

Beyond providing the joy of music, the singing group from Brookridge also gave attendees a chance to make more connections with others in the area, McFadden said.

“The lovely thing about that is the integration with the community. I think people don’t realize that there are gaps in our community, where people might not get to see other individuals as much as they would like,” she said. “So it’s nice to create an event that advocates for everyone in our community and makes it an inclusive experience.”

The event had a good turnout and even drew some new faces to the senior center, she said, noting the free event was at capacity, with every seat booked more than a week before the feast was held.

“We were fortunate enough to get a lot of people that signed up that haven’t been here before,” McFadden said. “And that’s just a really good example of how many people we still need to reach and get the word out about what our services are. We’re welcoming our new friends here and, hopefully, they feel comfortable enough to keep coming back.”

It’s the first year the senior center has held a Thanksgiving feast like this, she said.

Harvest themed decorations sit among coffee and sugar on a table at the Marquette Senior Center’s Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday.

“We have offered community meals for Thanksgiving in the past in partnership with (Community Action-Alger Marquette),” McFadden said. “Those were wonderful, but due to some changes, we have not offered them in a couple of years. The reason we are able to offer the feast this year is due, in large part, to Econo Foods’ generous sponsorship.”

The Thanksgiving feast held Wednesday is part of a larger effort to bring more shared dining experiences to the center.

“The reason why we were inspired to offer a feast again is because it was made apparent to myself when I started in this role that there was a need for more food and fellowship opportunities at the Marquette Senior Center,” she said. “We have accomplished this goal thus far by partnering with CAAM to reestablish the Marquette Senior Center as a congregate meal site every other Tuesday, and also by offering special events like this.”

McFadden is grateful to all who attended, helped out and donated.

“It just wouldn’t be successful without them and without our volunteers,” she said.

Marquette Senior Services Manager Maureen McFadden, center, speaks to attendees of the Marquette Senior Center’s Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday. The free meal aimed to provide food, fun and fellowship in a festive environment, McFadden said.

McFadden hopes to be able to continue the tradition and keep bringing people together, she said.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to offer something like this in the future because it really is the right thing to do and just very much worth it,” she said.

The Marquette Senior Center is located at 300 W. Spring St. in Marquette and can be reached at 906-228-0456.

To learn more about the Marquette Senior Center and upcoming events, visit www.marquettemi.gov/departments/community-services/senior-center/ for a newsletter and calendar, or the center’s Facebook page.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.

The Brookridge Music Scene from Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care in Marquette sings for attendees of the Marquette Senior Center’s Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday. (Journal photos by Cecilia Brown)