MARQUETTE - The Little Brothers organization will host their Friends of the Elderly Christmas Dinner at the St. Christopher Catholic Church in Marquette Township this year, the group's first time hosting an event in Marquette.
"We've wanted to come to Marquette for many years," said Friends of the Elderly Expansion Director Carol Korpela. "We want to host a holiday meal for lonely elderly people who have little or no social contact. We want to make sure that we have a venue for them so they are not alone on the holiday."
Friends of the Elderly currently serves holiday meals in Calumet, Copper City, Tapiola, South Range, Houghton, Hancock, Ontonagon and Baraga. Additionally, it has hot meal delivery sites in Laurium and Houghton where volunteers deliver meals to the home bound with a friendly visit.
Volunteer Joyce VanWestenburg poses for a photo with guest Helmi Kinnunen at Friends of the Elderly’s Valentine’s Day party on Feb. 14, 2013 in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Mark Cinelli)
Senior Bob Erickson sits and talks with volunteer Cynthia Drake at Friends of the Elderly’s Valentine’s Day party on Feb. 14, 2013 in Hancock. Photo courtesy Mark Cinelli)
The group is currently seeking about 20 volunteers for the event, which will run from 2-5 p.m. on Christmas Day. Some volunteers will come in to cook at 10 a.m. while others will be needed for food serving around 1:30 p.m.
"It's flexible for volunteers," Korpela said. "They can volunteer around their own family holiday, but there are others who wish to spend the whole day with us."
Volunteer needs are cooking, set-up, serving, cleaning up, baking, and driving guests to and from the party.
She added that by having the event on a holiday, it allows them to get to know the elderly people in the community in hopes that someday, they could start their Friendly Visiting Program.
Because this is their first Marquette party, if there are elderly or volunteers who are interested in attending, they should contact Friends of the Elderly so preparations can be made.
Little Brothers can be reached at 906-482-6944 for more information or to sign up.
The menu for the party includes turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetable medley, salad, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert.
Each elderly friend receives a flower at the meal in honor of the Friends of the Elderly motto, "Flowers before bread," which they say expresses their philosophy that the pleasures that make life worth living, such as love, dignity, and beauty, are as important to the human spirit as food is to the body.
Friends of the Elderly expanded their holiday meals to Ontonagon in 1987 and Baraga in 2001. They later expanded their Friendly Visiting Program to Ontonagon in 2011 and Baraga in 2012.
The St. Christopher Church is located at 2372 Badger St., in Marquette Township.
Justin Marietti can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 245.