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Local Senior Citizens Gather For Socializing, Networking
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After enjoying ice cream with a variety of toppings, along with some brownies and cookies, attendees at the senior ice cream social took time to fill out a survey regarding activities they would like to see in the community designed especially for them.

The turnout was even better than hoped for and organizers said they couldn’t be happier with the recent ‘Senior Ice Cream Social’ hosted at the Escalon Community Center.

With a goal to bring seniors together for some fun, socializing, entertainment and even a little networking, organizers hosted their first event on Aug. 21.

The senior room at the Community Center, where the twice a week senior lunches are held, was bursting at the seams for the inaugural senior event, some even spilling out into the main room of the center.

Among the special guests was Ralph Collazo, Wellness Ambassador from the local Rite Aid, who told senior citizens about the importance of getting their flu shot each year and reminded them that, though the weather may be hot now, fall and cooler weather are just around the corner.

“The flu season is coming up,” he said, noting that no appointment is needed for the flu shots.

Some of the ice cream served was donated to the event, including a donation from Maria Fernandes, a longtime employee at Rite Aid, while the store manager also provided the cups for serving the treat. Also donating money and/or items were Escalon Kiwanis, Escalon Rotary, MarVal and Joanne Veenstra, among others.

Some Escalon High School Leadership Class students were there to help out with the set-up, serving and clean up.

One of the organizers, Peggy Rocha, explained a little bit about a survey offered, asking attendees to share some of their talents – musical or crafts – that they might be able to use in future gatherings, as well as seeking information about what seniors would like to see especially for them in the community.

“We’re just so excited that we had this many people turn out,” Rocha noted, surveying the crowd. “Seniors need that socialization. We have a beautiful community center; we need to be using it for some senior activities.”

Rocha also said there were plenty of good ideas shared during the social and she’s looking forward to having more gatherings.

“We’ll start small, once a month,” she said.

Mayor Robert Swift was on hand as well and helped out with some prize drawings near the end of the social.

“I think this is really cool,” Swift said. “There’s big value in getting the seniors out and socializing again, this is the kind of thing that draws people together.”

He noted that getting seniors out and about helps to reduce the isolation some older citizens might feel and he congratulated organizers, including Ann Shaddix, with getting the gatherings started.

“It was a great team of people, working together,” Shaddix said.

They are already planning more events and hope to spread the word to bring more seniors out to enjoy the festivities.

“This exceeded all of our expectations,” added Rocha. “We’re really happy with this kind of turnout.”