Central students serve senior citizens holiday meal


Central students serve senior citizens holiday meal

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.”

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist or on the Web at nataliepate.com.


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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit www.about.me/natalie_pate, like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at www.StatesmanJournal.com.

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