By By Ben Rayner
11/30/2021 02:10 p.m. EST
The annual Rotary Christmas Luncheon, a Senior Center tradition for more than four decades, is set to be an in-person event again for this year after a drive-through event last year prompted by the pandemic. The luncheon will be held Wednesday, Dec. 8 at noon at the Community Center and is free to all.
Senior Supervisor Tracey Buckley said that they are very excited that the event will be in-person. They are expecting as many as 200 people to attend.
“This is such a great event for everyone, especially the seniors. They get a chance to socialize with others. We have heard from a lot of seniors about how much these types of programs mean to them,” said Buckley. “The Rotary luncheon is another opportunity to offer that socialization and to bring entertainment and get a free meal.
“The Rotary is just amazing. I think they enjoy it just as much as the seniors,” she continued. “They do all the serving and help with all the meal prep, along with our kitchen. They really enjoy it. I think they have as much fun and the guests, they really love doing this for the town.”
The Senior Center is requesting attendees bring a non-perishable food donation for the local food bank. There is no charge for the lunch, but attendees must sign-up in the office by Friday, Dec. 3 to participate. It is open to residents and non-residents alike.
“This is a recognition that seniors are very important part of this community. That is what the Rotary does, this acknowledgment is the biggest take-away,” said Buckley. “They are a vital part of the Guilford community. I think that currently those 55 and over make up 25 to 30 percent of the town’s population, so it’s an acknowledgment that they are such an important part of the community, and that Guilford recognizes their contributions in the past and the present. It’s a way to give them something a little special.”
This luncheon is presented in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Guilford and is one of the more meaningful events the organization sponsors, according to Al Jacobs, former president of Guilford’s Rotary Club and current sergeant-at-arms.
“We’ve done this for 42 years and it has always been a way for us to give back to the seniors that have helped make this a community that we all love and cherish so much. We did this last year as a drive-through event, and we are excited to be having this as an in-person luncheon again,” said Jacobs. “Especially in tough times, we recognize that we are all in this together and that it’s one big community.
“No one should feel alone especially at this time, or really at any time. A lot of the seniors don’t necessarily have people around them. Children and friends have moved on, and this is like one big reunion for them,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity for them to reconnect with friends and have a party.”
There will also be stockings/goody bags for all the attendees courtesy of the Rotary, including donations from local businesses like Bishop’s Orchards.
Entertainment will be provided by Guilford’s very own John “Cadillac” Saville, who has been providing tunes for this event almost as long as it’s been held. There will also be a performance by the high school’s premiere vocal group Voices.
“They are really an elite group, they are just so good,” said Buckley. “They really make this event special and memorable for us all.”
Parking will be limited, so the center recommends parking at the rear of St. George’s Church and walking over or using the center’s dedicated shuttle from the church lot to the event. To sign up for the lunch and to arrange for a ride, if needed, stop in at the Community Center at 32 Church Street or call 203-453-8086.