It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas Saturday for New Rochelle seniors.
The Hugh A. Doyle Senior Center hosted its 40th Holiday Luncheon with about 90 seniors attending, most of whom were wearing colors of green and red.
The holiday décor was front and center. As soon as one entered the building, a winter landscape could be seen painted on the window that looks into the festivities. Christmas tree paper cut-outs hung from the walls, and the tables were covered with red and green table cloths and had poinsettias placed in the middle. A fully decorated Christmas tree stood tall in the back of the room.
“For a lot of people, the holidays bring back bad memories,” said Phillis Maucieri, executive director of New Rochelle Office for the Aging, which runs the center.
“And for a lot of the seniors, the friends they have here are the only people they have left,” she said. “So we try to give them a day to forget about the bad things.”
Food was catered by Hubbards Cupboard, the center’s weekly caterer. Cheese and crackers were served as a snack before the main meal, which consisted of salad, bread, rice pilaf, mushroom soup and chicken cordon bleu.
Holiday music was played by the Peter Childs Band, a jazz and swing group led by Peter Chido, a longtime member of the center.
There were two raffles held at the event—a 50/50 raffle to offset the costs, and a benefit raffle in which the proceeds went to a family who was affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Alice Megaro, a member of the center, made 19 gingerbread houses and sold them for $20 each, raising a total of $500 for the family.
Many seniors talked with each other, discussing family and holiday tradition. At one table, a woman raised her cup of apple juice and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
“I enjoy the holidays. My family is welcoming my grandson back from the United States Navy on Dec. 22, so I am very thankful,” said Kay Kiernin, a senior at the center.
Another member, Louise Amorosano, said, “We’re lucky. We are getting old. I have had a hip replacement. I lost my husband, which is sad. So you have you keep busy.”
Grace Vitulli, who was sitting next to Amorosano, agreed.
“We’re lucky to be a part of something and that we have a place to go to during the holidays,” Vitulli said.
CORRECTION: This article has been modified from its original version to correct the last name of Peter Chido. Patch regrets the error.