- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
For some in Charles County, the big Thanksgiving meal is not the only one anticipated at this time of year.
For the last seven years, Winnie Milstead has been helping put together a dinner for senior citizens and their families that enjoys an average turnout each year of 75 to 100 people. Members of organizations from all over the county come out to work toward the same end: an enjoyable afternoon for those who often are overlooked.
“We want the seniors to be able to come out and enjoy themselves,” Milstead said at the Saturday event. “This helps give them somewhere to go and something to do.”
In the past, Milstead coordinated the event with members of the Heavy Hitters Car Club, a local auto enthusiast group that he belongs to. Milstead now takes on the bulk of planning and cooking for the day while relying equally on volunteer assistance.
The event is hosted at Randolph Furey American Legion Post 170 in Pomonkey. Since beginning the event, Milstead said, it always has been held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
Although the American Legion does not assist in the coordination, Post 170 Commander John Countryman said the event is nonetheless indicative of the organization’s outreach efforts.
“For the American Legion, one of our initiatives is to engage in community outreach,” Countryman said. “This helps serve our senior citizens. The people here, they may not have seen each other in a while. For some of them, they may not have seen each other since this time last year. We’re glad to open up for them. This is a wonderful event.”
At the dinner, attendees were offered their pick of entrees and side dishes, along with a dessert table. Music played as people of all ages circulated the hall, greeting each other warmly and catching up.
Former post commander John Travers said he anticipates the dinner every year.
“It’s a nice event that they give us,” Travers said. “It helps give back to the community. They’re helping us, and we help them. And I really like the variety of food that they serve.”
“They really do a wonderful job for the seniors,” Pat Mercer of Pomonkey said. “They give you plenty of food, and if you can’t make it, then they’ll deliver it to you. I haven’t missed a year yet. I’ll see people here that I haven’t seen in years. ... Every year, you see someone you haven’t seen in a while.”
For volunteers at the event, the day was just as fulfilling.
Chuck “Hot Sauce” Thompson, president of the Bottom End Ryderz Bike Club, said it gives his group a chance to get out and give back.
“We’re going to be seniors someday, and I hope somebody gives back to us then,” Thompson said. “People seem to forget about the seniors. It’s interesting to see them here and interacting with each other. We always want to give back, especially around Thanksgiving and the holidays. A lot of folks don’t got anyone.”
“This is their day,” Milstead said. “I’m grateful to be able to do this.”