The Battle Ground Community Center was filled with holiday joy as Battle Ground Senior Citizens, Inc. (BGSC) held its holiday luncheon on Dec. 12.
There were 157 guests in attendance, which featured Santa. Senior citizens were served a catered holiday meal while Dutch Bros provided coffee.
Battle Ground Senior Citizens President Sharon Wodtke provided a recap of the year and all the organizations that seniors helped in 2022.
Gifts were collected during the luncheon as part of the Be a Santa to a Senior program. According to the community center, over 70 tags were filled by seniors and members of the community. Those gifts will be given to senior citizens in need.
It was the first year the Battle Ground Senior Citizens and Battle Ground Community Center partnered in this program organized by Home Instead. There were also over 100 raffle prizes for those in attendance thanks to donations from seniors and local businesses.
Battle Ground Mayor Philip Johnson was the event emcee and raffle winner announcer.
“A lot of hard work by a small group of energetic volunteer board members and officers over 11 months was made worthwhile when I saw the smiles and heard all the laughter from our seniors,” Wodtke said about the event. “Watching them having their pictures taken with Santa made my day.”
Event chairperson Jana Drazich and her committee worked all year to prepare for the event. In all, 19 volunteers came together to serve the meal and help with raffle prizes. Dianna Perry, owner of Finishing Touch, played the piano at the event.
“The group is all volunteers, no one is on staff,” BGSC Board Advisor Lori Lindberg said. “They work all year long planning for the holiday party each year. They will send out a survey to guests to gather input to plan for next year, which will start in January. As it gets closer each year the work ramps up, gathering donations, packing gift bags, confirming caterers, finding volunteers and other things.”
While the holiday luncheon takes the most planning, all of the monthly luncheons at the Battle Ground Community Center take hours of planning, communication, meetings, promotion and board meetings prior to the events. There are also other events the Battle Ground Senior Citizens put on each month.
“The president starts work on the next month’s events a few days after the luncheon,” Lindberg said. “Every month for the luncheon the group works on planning speakers or an activity, a theme, sponsors are secured for the meal expenses, if possible, raffle items are gathered.”
Back in November of 2021, the attendance of the luncheons was about 35 people but the number has since grown to over 175 people each month.
“The need for social activities for our seniors is very apparent,” Lindberg said. “Each month the board members hear thanks and praises for what they are organizing from the seniors. The community and business owners have been very supportive to do what they can to help our seniors by volunteering their time, donating to help with the meal, and other expenses.”
Lindberg added the City of Battle Ground has also been helpful with its supportive staff at the community center. The senior groups are able to apply for grants through the city that can help cover certain expenses. Mayor Johnson and his wife have also volunteered at every luncheon.
Anyone over 50 is welcome to be part of the fun at the luncheons.
“Many do not feel 50 is considered a senior citizen,” Lindberg said. “I don’t feel I would be considered a senior, but very thankful for the opportunity to serve this group. We are always looking for volunteers to help with things that may be more difficult for seniors.”
The Battle Ground Senior Citizens group is appreciative of any help they get and sponsors or donors are always needed to cover the expenses of serving meals.
The luncheon is held the second Monday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Battle Ground Community Center. Anyone who has questions about attending or other events organized for local seniors can contact Sharon Wodtke at 360-953-3278. If anyone is interested in volunteering, sponsoring or donating, they can contact Lori Lindberg at 360-600-1438.
The holiday luncheon was sponsored by First Sight Family Vision, Home Instead, Summerland Catering, and Jackson, Jackson, & Kurtz Law Firm.
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