Homebound seniors get holiday helpers

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—Diane Baker plays the piano at the Atrium of Grand Valley on North 12th Street in Grand Junction on Christmas Eve. The Atrium opened its door for all for a free dinner so that senior residents would have company for the holiday. The meal was donated by Comfort Keepers, a nonmedical caregiving service.

Santa’s elves haven’t just been busy making preparations for good children this holiday season. Some of those elves also have been working hard to ensure the elderly eat a hot meal, surrounded by friends.

For the third year, Comfort Keepers and volunteers delivered more than 200 meals to homebound seniors on Christmas Eve. For seniors who wanted to visit with others, Comfort Keepers donated food for the dozens of folks who showed up for the Christmas Eve buffet at the Atrium of Grand Valley.

Maxine Elliott, 85, with her friend, Dean Dickman, 94, said she didn’t have a food plan for the day before Christmas. Gray Gourmet typically provides meals for Mesa County’s seniors, but not on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

“I have no idea what I’d be eating,” she said, if it weren’t for the meal of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and all the sides.

The Atrium’s executive chef, Jon Dutton, said he was more than happy to cook up the meal donated by Comfort Keepers, a nonmedical caregiving service.

He expected up to 40 seniors to stop in during the snowy Christmas Eve afternoon.

“When we were asked to do this, we jumped in full-force,” Dutton said. “Let no seniors be left alone on the holidays.”

Kandi Clark, a scheduler with Comfort Keepers, said she usually gets plenty of heartfelt thanks while delivering the meals to homebound seniors on Christmas Eve. In years past, there have been enough volunteers to sit awhile with seniors and eat alongside them in their homes. This year, volunteers mostly will have to drop off meals and continue on to the next location in order to deliver all the meals.

“I don’t think people realize it,” Clark said about the numbers of seniors who may be alone on the holidays. “They’re so wrapped up in their own family they forget about those who don’t have families.”

Organizations including Grand Villa, Gray Gourmet, Grand Mesa Medical, Edward Jones, Senior Services Group and Canyon View Vineyard Church donated time and money for the holiday meals.


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