“It was as if we were guests in your home”—a recap of the 2023 Seniors’ Holiday Luncheon

Feb 13, 2024 | Community Stories

Written by Susanna Chu, Housekeeping and Wellness Program Manager

Our seniors are still talking about the CNH Holiday Luncheon, says Information & Referral/Reception Manager Jenny Eng-Chan.

“Entertainment, prizes, decorations, food, activities… it was if we were guests in your home,” one of them said.
These guests, many of whom arrived early, were greeted by a musician on bagpipes. Inside, they discovered glittering holiday décor and floral arrangements—made by seniors in a workshop led by Ave Maria Garden volunteers—graced every table.

As CNH Executive Director Jennifer Gray-Grant acknowledged, the event was held on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. She thanked special guest Adrian Dix, MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway, who had helped secure provincial funding to save the CNH Community Lunch program and make this holiday luncheon special.

A team of staff and volunteers served a delicious turkey lunch with all the fixings while a local quartet called the Backporch Serenaders set the mood with delightful old-time jazz. Long-time CNH volunteer and Elvis impresario Peter Yap dazzled the audience. His energetic rock-and-roll performance was followed by the graceful Hawaiian rhythms of RISE dietitian Rani Wangsawidjaya’s hula dances.

Volunteers Barry Londry and Martha Barrones shared their “Memories of Home”—Barry recalled hot chocolate and gifts with family, plus 15 years of celebrating with friends at the CNH holiday luncheon. Martha talked about advent, piñatas, and posadas in Mexico and Spain. She and Santa presented the preschoolers who performed next with a piñata for their efforts.

Finally, the Highs and Lows Mental Health Choir treated our seniors to holiday favourites and led them in caroling, with Santa joining the ranks of the singers. They ended with Silent Night in multiple languages.
Throughout the afternoon, the guests were surprised and delighted by scratch-and-win games and many prize draws. One in four guests received a gift bag of donated self-care items. Heart to Home frozen meal delivery, Liberte Café and Restaurant, London Drugs, and Subway contributed gift cards. And as they have every year, Panaderia Latina Bakery provided 100 servings of luscious cakes. A $500 grant from VanCity’s Collingwood Community Branch and a $1500 donation from Safeway Collingwood provided six grand prizes—a plush blanket and cash—and a goody bag for each guest, including a Safeway gift card and care items. A gentle reminder to take care of themselves.

After attending many holiday gatherings in the neighbourhood this season, Peter Yap says, “The CNH holiday luncheon was the best.”

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