Thanksgiving Comes Early to Area Seniors

Frozen turkeys and bags filled Thanksgiving meal side dish food items were presented to Gloria and Martin Szabo by County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Office for Senior Resources Director Patricia Sheehy  yesterday. The Szabos are residents of Hughson Commons, an affordable apartment community located in Carmel. Each year the OSR holds a food drive to fill Thanksgiving baskets and bags with turkeys, canned goods, pasta and other non-perishable items for area seniors. This year, Sheehy said her office expects to deliver 125 baskets throughout the county. 

“It is always a wonderful time of the year when we deliver food to our seniors for Thanksgiving,” said Sheehy. “Many of them have given so much to our community and to our country. It is good to have the chance to give back to them.”

Sheehy expressed her thanks to “those at the schools, the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other county departments and employees” who have joined in the annual effort by making food donations. 

“Our seniors are often left home alone for the holidays and having us come to their door with a basket of food goes a long way in bringing them some warmth and caring during this season,” Sheehy said.

Odell echoed Sheehy’s sentiments about her pleasure in having the opportunity to give back to the seniors, many of whom do an enormous amount of volunteer work within the county. 

“It may not seem like much that we are doing today, but it is one way we can say ‘Thanks!’ for all that you have done and continue to do for Putnam,” said Odell. “Each year we reach out to as many people in our community as we can and provide them with the items they will need to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal,” said Odell. “We are so very grateful to have so many involved seniors. Delivering the food, meeting them in their own homes is always a pleasure for me.”

Earlier in the day, Odell attended the Great Thanksgiving Feast held annually at Matthew Paterson Elementary School in Patterson. Along with the meal at MPES, senior citizens who reside in the Carmel Central School District were treated to a free and hearty Thanksgiving meal at Carmel High School, George Fischer Middle School and Kent Primary School courtesy of the Carmel Teachers’ Association.

Children’s choir sang America the Beautiful, very patriotic and appreciated- regardless-Putnam remembers our responsibility to our country.

The Thanksgiving luncheon consisting of roast turkey with gravy, stuffing, whipped potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, mixed vegetables, pumpkin pie and apple crisp, is an annual event that delights both the students who serve or visit their guests during their lunch hours and the seniors who enjoy not only the roast turkey with all the traditional trimmings but also the cheerful company of the youngsters.

While the menu is the same at the Patterson school, the preparation of the meal dates back several hundred years. This feast mirrors the one first held in Plymouth, MA and is a living history lesson for the third graders who roast turkeys over an open pit fire at the school, a task that was not lost on the County Executive.

“The students and staff at Matthew Paterson prepare their Great Thanksgiving Feast much in the same way as the Pilgrims did. It’s such an exciting way to learn history for the third grader. And what a thrill for the seniors who are truly thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the meal – and the students,” said Odell.

Before she left, Odell wished the students, staff and seniors a Happy Thanksgiving. 

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Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell (left) and Office for Senior Resources Patricia Sheehy (right) present a Thanksgiving turkey and a bag filled with traditional Thanksgiving trimmings to Gloria and Martin Szabo of Carmel. Sheehy said the OSR will deliver approximately 125 Thanksgiving baskets to area seniors this year. Photo submitted