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Monday, December 12, 2011

A Holiday Tradition: South Central Christmas Celebration for Seniors

Seniors 55 and up came together in friendship and fellowship at the annual South Central Holiday Christmas Celebration.

The event was held Saturday, December 10, 2011 in the Douglass Room of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex in Riverview.

Click here to see a slideshow of the South Central Christmas Celebration for Seniors. These pictures provided by Virginia "Jennie" Hankins.

About 120 people attended the gathering, and all told, everybody had a good time.

"We don't always get to come together as a community to celebrate something," says Jeannie Hodges with the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, who sponsored the event partnered with the New Vision Kids and Kingsport Parks and Recreation. "At this kind of event at Christmastime, there's good fellowship among the neighbors, getting to see each other and just be around each other."

"Sometimes, it's the first time they've seen each other in a long time.

In the past, there was been a dinner-type atmosphere, but Hodges says, this year, she planned something different.

"We planned to have food," she says, "but it was a different kind of dinner this time, not the traditional meal you'd see at Christmas. We catered meatballs, chicken fixed in a couple of ways, pinach dip, potato salad, barbeque, deviled eggs and two or three desserts. We also gave away door prizes, had games for the seniors, and everybody also got to take home a goodie bag. Van (Dobbins, Jr.) was the Secret Santa this year. He brought by some items that went into the goodie bags that everybody loved. Nobody was expecting it.. even me."

The Seniors Christmas Celebration was started more than 10 years ago by South Central's Mary Jane Carnes. "It was a fun thing to do in Riverview," says Hodges, "an outing for some of the seniors that don't get out much. Everybody always looks forward to it."

It was also a good time for the seniors and the youth of the neighborhood to socialize with each other.

"It's a way for the youth to give back to the community," Hodges says. In everything they do, the message is to always honor the seniors. The New Vision kids wait on them like they do at other events, bringing them food, tea, napkins, and just seeing to their needs. That's good positive reinforcement that gets passed on down through the generations."

"Best of all, the kids love it, and the seniors appreciate the attention."

The audience was treated to music and praise from the Shiloh Youth Praise team, and the New Vision Kids performed a skit about Christmas. They took each letter in the word "Christmas" and explained what the meaning of the season is, using the letters.

Hodges says, she was pleased to see new seniors at the event this time, that hadn't been to the previous get-togethers. That, she called a blessing, because often, everybody doesn't get to see their neighbors as much as they want to.

Christmastime is the perfect season to renew and progress those old friendships.