Hope­dale el­ders treated to Christ­mas din­ner

The Labradorian - - Editorial - BY FLOYD SPRACKLIN

In a 1998 re­port on the Abo­rig­i­nal Se­niors In­for­ma­tion Pro­ject, Indige­nous se­niors ex­pressed a need for in­for­ma­tion on re­cre­ation, so­cial pro­grams and other ac­tiv­i­ties, in­di­cat­ing that they want more op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with friends, fam­ily and other se­niors, and that these pro­grams help them do so.

Sim­i­larly, they want in­for­ma­tion on cul­tural events and ac­tiv­i­ties such as gath­er­ings of el­ders and tra­di­tional pro­grams.

We all know the value of reach­ing out to se­niors at spe­cial times of the year, more es­pe­cially at Christ­mas. Hope­dale, like count­less other com­mu­ni­ties around the world, is no dif­fer­ent when it comes to cel­e­brat­ing el­ders at this time of the year.

The first Sun­day in Ad­vent marks the be­gin­ning of the fourSun­day Christ­mas Day count­down for many churches, the Mo­ra­vian Church be­ing one of these. Hope­dale’s bar­ren land­scape ne­ces­si­tates a lengthy snow­mo­bile trip to cut even the small­est of Ad­vent trees. Sun­day, Dec. 2 this year was the first Sun­day in Ad­vent, so for two days pre­vi­ous, res­i­dents were busy find­ing that spe­cial tree to dec­o­rate and then hang Ad­vent stock­ings for their ex­pec­tant chil­dren.

From chil­dren to el­ders, all have their own unique in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Christ­mas and what they take away from it. This is the se­cond year that Amos Come­nius Me­mo­rial School (ACMS) has hosted an El­ders’ Christ­mas Din­ner.

This spe­cial event for Hope­dale 65+ se­niors treats them to some pre-Christ­mas pam­per­ing all the way from a writ­ten hand-de­liv­ered in­vi­ta­tion to be­ing picked up by stu­dents at their homes. They can then sit back and en­joy a mouth­wa­ter­ing stu­dent/teacher/com­mu­nity-pre­pared meal. And no dishes to do af­ter all is said and done, at least not for the hon­oured in­vi­tees.

In 2016, ACMS vice-prin­ci­pal and adult ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion teacher Eileen Flow­ers noted that stu­dents were es­pe­cially happy when a few teach­ers joined them for a school Christ­mas Din­ner.

“That’s when I thought how good it would be to have the stu­dents’ el­ders join them,” Flow­ers said.

So last year, was first time that she and ACMS High School Stu­dents or­ga­nized a cooked tur­key din­ner with all the trim­mings and home­made desserts for el­ders, their spouses, and Grade 10-12 ACMS stu­dents.

Or­ga­niz­ing the din­ner is no small feat. Many puz­zle pieces must come to­gether and on time. Eileen Flow­ers over­sees the en­tire din­ner. It doesn’t hap­pen with­out the help of many school and com­mu­nity in­di­vid­u­als car­ry­ing out dif­fer­ent jobs — de­sign­ing in­vi­ta­tions, com­pil­ing and de­liv­er­ing these to el­ders and their spouses, pick­ing up ta­bles and pots from the Depart­ment of Health and So­cial Devel­op­ment, peel­ing veg­eta­bles, mak­ing berry pud­dings, bak­ing pies and bread rolls, su­per­vis­ing the cook­ing with the stu­dents and wash­ing the dishes. All prepa­ra­tion, set­tin­gup, en­joy­ing time with el­ders, lis­ten­ing to trea­sured sto­ries, and of course the cleanup at the end all oc­curred dur­ing the course of one day, Dec. 14.

“Last year we had stu­dents do­nate veg­eta­bles and the fix­ings, and the school pur­chased the meats,” Flow­ers noted. “How­ever, this year the Ka­mat­si­atet Com­mit­tee do­nated the funds to pur­chase all sup­plies.”

This com­mit­tee is com­prised of a group of Hope­dale in­di­vid­u­als af­fil­i­ated with the Voisey Bay Nickel Com­pany and whose aim is to im­prove health and well­ness, re­cre­ation and the lo­cal econ­omy.

For this year’s El­ders’ Christ­mas Din­ner ap­prox­i­mately 40 el­ders, 45 high school stu­dents, and ACMS staff were in­vited for a to­tal of about 95.

Be­fore din­ner, stu­dents drove around town to pick up el­ders who had re­quested a ride. Stu­dents brought them to the school and es­corted them into the gym where ev­ery­thing was set-up for their treat. As el­ders en­joyed their din­ners a young and ex­u­ber­ant Grade 1 stu­dent, Jonathan Nochasak, played Christ­mas mu­sic on the key­board.

Trudy Flow­ers said, “It’s so good to see the el­ders get out and mix with ev­ery­one and to see the young ones help­ing out so much.”

An­drew Piercy was also happy to join his fel­low el­ders for Christ­mas din­ner.

“It makes me feel good in­side to get out and to es­pe­cially be around ev­ery­one,” Piercy said.

Ev­ery­one went home that much hap­pier for be­ing in­cluded in a cel­e­bra­tion of Christ­mas.

SUB­MIT­TED

El­der An­drew Piercy and Halle Lucy at the din­ner.

COUR­TESY OF EILEEN FLOW­ERS

From left, Gavin Boase, Holle Lucy, Ro­main Lampe, and Shavonne Tuglav­ina wrap­ping cut­lery in prepa­ra­tion for the el­ders din­ner.

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