Photo by Theo Tate
Meghan Daily talks to the senior citizens during the annual Granite City Township Seniors Christmas Dinner on Dec. 10. Daily was one of the organizers of the dinner.
GRANITE CITY — After having more than 200 people at its annual Seniors Christmas Dinner on Dec. 10, Granite City Township organizers are hoping for a much bigger turnout next year.
“We want to get our numbers back to where they used to be and for people to start utilizing the hall because it’s there for all seniors,” said Fred Layne, who is the township’s bus driver as well as one of the helpers for the dinner. “It’s just that a lot of people don’t know about it anymore.”
Layne said the dinner was organized by Township Supervisor Bob Shipley. Anyone 55 and older is invited to the dinner, which featured turkey and stuffing.
“It’s pretty much a traditional Christmas-Thanksgiving dinner,” Layne said.
This year’s dinner at the Township Hall had approximately 270 senior citizens.
“The township was full to the brim,” Layne said. “In years past, like 10 to 15 years ago, when the enrollment was a little larger with senior citizens, they actually would get over 300 people. This turnout was much bigger than last year’s turnout, which was a good thing.”
Layne said the township publicized the dinner by putting fliers around the area and posting the event on its Facebook page.
“In the senior community, you would be surprised how connected they all are together,” Layne said. “There’s a senior social club and they run at the township, too. We’re not in charge of them by any means. They’re their only entity. But they use the township hall for dances and any little fundraisers they do.”
Layne said during the dinner, the hall was decorated with three Christmas trees and other decorations.
“They loved it,” Layne said. “Everybody looks forward to it. They’re usually all smiles and there’s laughter and good times. We play music during the dinner and the dinner concessions. It was a pretty festive night and it’s a good night for those seniors who don’t get out to see each other much anymore. They’re able to have dinner together and enjoy each other’s company.”
Layne said besides the Christmas dinner, there are other services the township offers, such as the senior shuttle service. 1,800 to 2,000 residents per month are transported to doctor and hospital appointments, grocery stores and other businesses within the township.
“We have three buses that run five days a week,” Layne said. “They run from 8 o’clock to 3 o’clock and the bus service is free for anybody who is 65 and over. We provide one ride to a place and one ride back. So if you have a doctor’s appointment, the bus will come pick you up at your home, take you to your doctor and when you’re done, you call us and we’ll come back and pick you up. That service will take you anywhere. You can go grocery shopping to the beauty salon to the doctor’s office. You can go to Jerry’s and have lunch with your friends.”’
The township also has Thursday bingo, line dancing and pinochle. The township also has its annual trips to Eckert’s, where senior citizens get to pick apples and peaches.
For information, contact the township office at (618) 877-0513. Anyone who wants to make a bus reservation can call (618) 877-8584.