11:46 a.m. PST November 25, 2016
Thanksgiving can be a time to gather with friends and family. But for some people, that isn’t always an option.
About 25 years ago, a student at Central High School in Independence realized some senior citizens might not have anyone to spend the holidays with.
So became the annual Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Luncheon, where local senior citizens are welcomed to a meal and a loving community.
“It’s just a nice gift for the community,” said Jeff Witt, adviser for the student government responsible for organizing the event each year.
Witt has participated in the event for more than 15 years. Each year, he said, he is reminded that some people in attendance aren’t going to have a Thanksgiving other than the one provided by the students.
About a dozen students came to the high school Wednesday for the event, some of whom weren’t even part of the student government. The school’s principal and the district superintendent helped serve the food.
This year was the first luncheon for Sophia Henke, 15, a sophomore at Central. She helped lead the raffle.
“I think giving presents is so fun,” she said, as she explained the raffle prizes of candy, holiday treats and donations from local businesses.
In addition to the raffle and meal – which consisted of mashed potatoes with turkey, gravy, rolls, stuffing and sweet potatoes – attendees were entertained by the high school’s jazz choir, also lead by Witt.
“(The event) puts things in perspective; not everyone will be with family on Thanksgiving,” Henke said. “I think it’s important to do (our) part and to add to the community.”