LEICESTER, Mass. — More than a hundred seniors were served an early Thanksgiving feast in Leicester on Monday afternoon, one of a series of holiday dinners State Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and State Rep. John Binienda (D-Worcester) have been holding in senior centers around their districts.
Moore said the events began four years ago, when he stopped in at a restaurant and Millbury that had over-ordered turkeys.
"So I approached the senior center in Millbury to see if they'd be interested in us sponsoring a turkey dinner, and it turned out to be such a big success that we've been reaching out to every other senior center," he said. "We've seen the numbers double each year."
Moore said the free Thanksgiving feast has become one of the premier events at a lot of the senior centers, with people raving about the food and turkeys provided by Goretti's Market in Millbury.
"It gives the seniors a chance to come and have a nice turkey dinner, and you think over the years they've been the ones who have cooked it for their families, so now they get the chance to sit back and enjoy one."
Binienda said that it was gratifying to be able to give back to the 'greatest generation,' many of whom are veterans.
"Without their help, our nation wouldn't be the great nation it is now," he said, "and this our way of saying Happy Thanksgiving to the the seniors of the Leicester and Worcester area."
Leicester Senior Center director Rachelle Cyr Cloutier said that the popular event drew residents of Oxford and Worcester in addition to Leicester, as Moore and Binienda welcome everyone.
Cloutier said that for some, this might be their only Thanksgiving dinner, and for those that weren't able to make it to the event the senior center will be providing baskets of food for the home-bound.
"It really is a community effort," she said, pointing out that Selectmen Tom Buckley and Sandy Wilson were helping out, along with Harry Brooks, president of Friends of The Council on Aging, and others.
"You see everyone cooperating to bring this all together, which is what we encourage," she said.