Over two dozen round tables were covered in red, white, or green linens, small Christmas tree centerpieces decorated each table, and goody-bags were placed at each seat. The room was quiet, except for a clink or a clang from those in the kitchen.
Yet, when the clock hit 10:00 a.m., the handicapped vans began pulling up at the Bud O’Shields Community Center. Van drivers stepped out to help those in wheelchairs, on walkers and canes, and those who just needed an extra hand.
As the 240 senior citizens on Fort Bend Seniors’ congregate program from across Fort Bend County, made their way into the Center, found a seat, filling the room, they began talking and chatting, happy to be out of their lonely homes, with their friends, and those soon-to-be-friends.
It was once again time for Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels annual Christmas Luncheon, hosted by the Fort Bend Republican Women, and as each elderly stepped off the bus, they walked a little faster heading toward the community room, as the spirit of the season was already filling the air.
For many, this was similar to a Christmas morning of long ago when family was still around, and the excitement and anticipation showed on all faces, for this was probably the only holiday celebration they would have this year.
When most of the seats were filled, coffee and snacks were served.
“We had 40 students from the Lamar Consolidated High School Choral Ensemble at this event, with director Jack Vandiver, and they filled the room with music. They sang Christmas songs and favorites tunes. My favorite part was when the choir honored each branch of the military by playing each anthem. As each anthem was played, the older veterans stood and were recognized, it was very moving,” said Jill Anthony, chair, Community Service, Fort Bend Republican Women.
As the clock signaled lunch, the choir members left the stage and began serving lunch to the senior citizens. The young men in their tuxedos walked to each table holding large trays, and the young ladies, still dressed in their floor length-performing gowns, served the special holiday, plated meals.
“It was wonderful to see these young people serving this older generation and talking with them. It was a treat for the senior citizens, and for these young people, an intergenerational festive gathering,” said Anthony.
During lunch, Sheriff Milton Wright entertained with his accordion, keeping the elderly clapping their hands. But then a surprise visitor arrived.
“Dressed in his red suit, and in his jolly way, Santa and Mrs. Claus entered the room, shaking hands and taking photos with the elderly, it was wonderful. You are never too old to find joy in seeing ole’ St. Nick,” said Anthony.
“The luncheon was fabulous, very festive and definitely put everyone in the holiday spirit. We are so blessed to have had the Lamar Consolidated Choir come out and sing the songs that bring back wonderful memories and represent the holiday season,” said Manuela H. Arroyos, CEO, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels.
According to Susan Whitacre, director, Volunteers, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, “The day was magical ! The spirit of the season filled our hearts to overflowing.”