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Seniors celebrate together in Willsboro

WILLSBORO - Seniors and their guests gathered to celebrate the holiday season last week with a special meal. The Essex-Willsboro Nutrition Site hosted a gathering of its clientele and supporters on Dec. 21 in the St. Philip of Jesus Catholic Church parish hall in Willsboro. The event attracted 60 people. Site manager Dennis Everleth said the annual party was a high point of the year for the site. For some seniors, the event is their main Christmas celebration. Food was served by three student volunteers from Willsboro Central School, Ben Rowe, Shelby Stoker and Amie Boardman. This year, seniors didn't exchange gifts, but instead baked up hundreds of cookies to create cookie bowls for all attendees. Barb Mero and Mae Mero were two of the senior volunteers who helped prepare the goodie bowls. Mae Mero said that the attraction of the event was having a chance to get together and enjoy each other's company. Barb Mero agreed. "It gets me out to see and talk to people," she explained. It's also a time to recognize those who help the site. Gifts were presented to employees from the town of Essex. "They do so much for the senior center - if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be able to do everything we do," said Everleth. There were several presentations by local agencies at the gathering. Essex County Public Health held a blood pressure and blood sugar screening, and worked under a Healthy Living Partnership grant to screen for cancer. Elizabethtown Community Hospital offered a presentation on its expansion plans, and Cornell Cooperative Extension presented a lesson on food safety. Everleth said several seniors planned on gathering on Dec. 24 at the site's Essex home base to spend time together. "A lot of them have no place to go," said Everleth. The nutrition site is sponsored by Adirondack Community Action Programs and funded by the Office for the Aging.

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