PLAINVILLE - For more than 20 years, several dedicated volunteers have been working to provide Thanksgiving meals for local seniors at the Plainville Senior Center.
George Fensick, Sandi Sasso and Chris Debienski are part of a group that helps to cook and prepare meals for registered guests to enjoy at the senior center and in their own homes.
This year, the senior center expects to be serving a “full house” of more than 65 guests - one of the largest Thanksgiving turnouts at the senior center in recent years.
Fensick, who organizes the kitchen staff and helps prepare the food, said he first got involved because it was “something different” and because he knew that there were those who do not have family around to enjoy the holiday with as he does.
“We talk to Ronda Guberman (assistant director of the senior center) and plan out a menu,” he said. “When people get here, they are usually very grateful. You can see it in the smiles on their faces. It makes you feel good inside and makes you feel accomplished to make them happy, to give them a chance to enjoy a meal with company and form friendships.”
Sasso started in 1995 and he never thought he would be volunteering at the senior center for all these years.
“My mom had just passed away and we used to get together every November. I just needed to distract myself, but I was overwhelmed by what I saw that day. I met George and I saw how he asked everyone at the tables to stand up and introduce themselves. Many of them thanked us because they wouldn’t have anywhere to go without us. They didn’t have any family of their own around anymore. I started working in the kitchen and passing out meals and now I prepare the meals for delivery,” said Sasso.
Debienski helps deliver the prepared meals.
“I just felt the need for it,” she said. “I worked in a health-care atmosphere and I saw firsthand how a lot of people don’t have family to spend the holidays with. It is very sad and I have a lot of compassion for those without anywhere else to go. I try to spend time at each table talking to our guests. Just a little smile even can go a long way. It is very fulfilling for me.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @brianjohnsonBP.