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Volunteers prep meals for Wood County seniors

Senior Center’s annual Christmas luncheon set for Friday

Photo Provided Volunteers formed two assembly lines to put together gift baskets for area seniors. The gift baskets were for people who received home-delivered meals from the Wood County Seniors Center and who have a daily lunch meal at the center on Market Street.

PARKERSBURG — A local hotel, its staff and a group of volunteers donated their time and collected donations so many area seniors could have a good Christmas holiday meal this week.

The Wood County Seniors Association partnered with the Comfort Suites Hotel in Mineral Wells to help sponsor the Senior Center’s annual Christmas luncheon. The hotel has set up a donation drive in its lobby and the corporate office is going to match their donations with a monetary donation.

The hotel in Mineral Wells wanted to do something to give back to the community this Christmas season, said Nina Oates, nutrition director for the Wood County Senior Citizens Association.

“After reviewing several different organizations, they decided to sponsor the Wood County Senior Citizens Association,” she said.

The hotel set up a donation bin in the lobby to collect specific non-perishable food items, which would be served during the holiday dinner at the Senior Center, as well as for the Meals on Wheels program.

Photo Provided Volunteers from the Wood County Senior Citizens Association, the Comfort Suites in Mineral Wells and Wood County Schools Community Integration Work Program put together 250 gift baskets for area seniors this week. The gift baskets have a variety of fruit, cookies, candy and a bookmark.

“In addition to the food they collected, they also made a gracious monetary donation to help cover the cost of the rest of the dinner,” Oates said.

The meal will be served at the senior citizen center this Friday from 11:20 a.m. to noon. People will have had to sign up at the center to participate, officials said, adding they had around 33 signed up as of Wednesday.

The menu is tentatively set to feature ham, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, a roll, a snicker doodle cookie and milk. Officials said changes could be made before Friday.

Earlier this week, the Comfort Suites’ general manager and sales director, along with some of their other staff and volunteers from the center, put together 250 gift baskets for all of the home delivery meal recipients and those who eat lunch at the center. Fifteen people helped put the baskets together in just over an hour.

“They have been more than generous in offering their time and donations to help out the seniors this Christmas,” Oates said. “We had a fantastic turnout for the event and the Comfort Suites really did an amazing job putting so much thought and time into the gift baskets.”

“We wanted to do something extra special for the seniors this year, so we got together and came up with the idea of little gift baskets with a variety of fruit, cookies, candy and a bookmark. The Comfort Suites team even baked the cookies themselves.”

The baskets included a banana, an orange, an apple, a pear, sugar-free candy and two sugar-free cookies. Volunteers were able to form two assembly lines to put the baskets together.

Comfort Suites General Manager Shelly Hupp said the basket making event on Tuesday and being able to help deliver the Meals on Wheels program had an impact on all who participated.

“(Tuesday) was a very exciting, heart-warming day for all of us that volunteered,” Hupp said. “We were blessed with the ability to help, and enjoyed doing so.

“Helping with the delivery of the meals on wheels (on Wednesday) was very emotional and humbling.”

They had students helping out from the Wood County Schools Community Integration Work Program.

Hupp and the Comfort Suites have been working with this program for over nine years.

“The program is steered toward providing real world work experience for kids that would otherwise face challenges entering the workforce,” she said.

Officials with the center were happy to be able to partner with the hotel to do something nice for area seniors.

“With so many organizations out there to choose from, I am so thankful for the Comfort Suites to choose us to help out this holiday season,” Oates said.

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